Bus Rapid Transit in Dar es Salaam: A “better city for a better time”? – January 2016

Date : 25 January  2016
Speaker:  Matteo Rizzo, School of Oriental and African Studies
Transport in megacities like Dar es Salaam is always going to be a challenge – made worse when the cities are ports with only a few main roads out.  Since the late 1980s the majority of commuters in the city have travelled in overloaded daladalas, small buses owned by individuals or small companies and operated by informal workers. With over $290m funding from the World Bank, the Government of Tanzania has invested in the Dar es Salaam Bus Rapid Transit, a state-of-the-art project to bring in bendy buses on exclusive lanes, and to relegate daladalas to the outskirts of the city. The first route, from the harbour mouth ferry, through the Dar es Salaam commercial area to Kariakoo, and on down the Morogoro Road to Ubungo and beyond,was largely completed over a year ago, and a spur from Magomeni to the Bagamoyo Road at Morocco has also been completed. But at the time of the seminar the new system had not started. It had become clear that contracts to purchase and run the buses that would use the new infrastructure had not been agreed before the road construction started, and that the new system would require a substantial increase in fares over those presently charged by the daladalas.

Drawing on fieldwork, this seminar explored the political and economic interests behind the project. There is no doubt that some action was needed to reduce journey to work times in Dar es Salaam – it can often take 2 hours or more to get in from the suburbs. But is this the way to do it? And were the details sufficiently thought through before the construction work started?


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