French Senators take their hats off to DART project

As many African countries are struggling to come to Tanzania to get experience on the implementation of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Dar es Salaam, there have been also many internationally financial institutions which have shown interest in investing in the Dar Rapid Transit (DART) project in building infrastructure in terms of roads, buildings, and establishing information technology.

One of the international development partners that has shown interest to invest in the DART project is the French Development Agency (AFD) which intends to finance the infrastructure development of DART project phase five whose detailed design is financed by the World Bank.

Because of AFD’s interest to invest in the fifth phase of DART, six senators from the French Parliament on March 2, 2020 toured the DART corridor from Morocco to Kivukoni terminal in order to familiarize themselves with the project before making a final decision to finance the project.

During the field tour, one of the French senators expressed satisfaction over the implementation of the DART project specifically on its architectural design and the way bus operations have positively impacted the lives of city dwellers in Dar es Salaam.

Commenting on the project during an exclusive interview with one of the DART Agency staff, the President of the Parliamentary Committee for Land Planning and Sustainable Development, Senator for EURE in France, Mr. Herve Maurey, said, “I have been impressed very much by BRT in Dar es Salaam for its architectural design. Its design takes a global perspective in which all road users are considered.”

The Senator added that “the design of BRT in Dar es Salaam enables the buses to spend little time on the road before they reach their respective destinations due to segregated lanes. As these buses carry many passengers at a time, it also makes it possible for many people to move around the city without wasting much time on the road.

Explaining on the social impact to the city, the DART Chief Executive, Eng. Ronald Lwakatare, told the delegation that the bus operations in Phase one have reduced travel time from three hours to 45 minutes from Kimara terminal to Kivukoni terminal.

Eng. Lwakatare also pinpointed that the project has created more employment in different professions within the city as many young people have been recruited to work in the DART system as bus drivers, cashiers, attendants, cleaners and security custodians.

The head of the DART Agency also highlighted some challenges that were affecting the ongoing bus operations including floods at Jangwani, the ongoing construction of interchange at Ubungo junction and newness of the project to the project implementing agencies and residents of the city.

Expounding on the progress to implement the project to other parts of the city, the Chief Executive told the delegates that DART was at the same time working to manage infrastructure development of 20.3 kilometers of Phase II that goes to Mbagala Rangitatu from the city centre.

He told the senators that the BRT infrastructure development in Phase II involves construction of roads cycle, pedestrian paths and buildings such as bus terminals, bus stands, and depots whose construction duration would take three years from March 2019.

Eng. Lwakatare also revealed that phases III and IV would be financed by the World Bank whose detailed designs were at different stages.

He said that the World Bank was going to finance construction of infrastructure for Phase III that covers 24.2 kilometers which covers Nyerere Road, Uhuru Street, Shaurimoyo street, Lindi street, Bibi Titi road, Azikiwe street, and Maktaba street.

Phase IV which covers 26.4 kilometers involves Bagamoyo Road up to Tegeta, Bibi Titi Road, Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road, and Sam Nujoma Road, he said.

Talking on Phase V, the Chief Executive said, “The implementation of Phase V depends on your government to approve financing loan that may be granted by your own development agency—AFD which has already shown inclination to give a hand to Dar es Salaam BRT.”

The conceptual design of DART project in six phases was done in 2005 with the commencement of infrastructure development of Phase I in 2010. The completion of infrastructure construction was in February 2016 followed by start of bus operations on May 10, 2016 under an interim service.