Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit (DART) is celebrating one year of providing transportation services in the city. The bus company is now focusing on implementation of Phases II and III of the project.
However, there are several challenges DART is facing which are likely to delay the realization of its goals. Inadequate funding could be among the challenges.
Our Staff Writer FAUSTINE KAPAMA reports… THE Construction of road works and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Infrastructure for phase I has been completed with bus operations in place. Details designs for phase II and III have also been completed and few more steps already made for the two next phases.
In October, 2015, the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) signed an agreement with government of Tanzania to finance phase II amounting 141.71 million US dollars, which is equivalent to 88.9 percent and the remaining 11.1 percent will be provided by government of Tanzania.
The DART Agency implementation status progress report for 2015/16–2016/17 financial years shows that in implementation for phase II some activities like procurement of consultant have started where the consultant will be responsible for making design review and prepare tender document.
It states that the project construction is scheduled to start in 2017. It will have a duration of 36 months of implementation where 19kms will be constructed with two flyovers at Mande la and Kilwa Road junction and at Nyerere and Kawawa Road junction, respectively.
The World Bank financed detail design for phase I, II and III and now has indicated interest to Finance Infrastructure development of phase III and detail designs for phase IV, V, and VI and would review the Resettlement Action Plan and Environmental and Social Impact Assessment reports for phase III.
Implementation of activities has been facing a number of challenges. They include facing a stiff challenge from resettlement action plans at Mbagala and Gongo la Mboto regarding the compensation delays.
Long time is taken to get title deed from authorities while there is a high demand of the BRT System for areas which have high population but were not in BRT System plan and compensation from the Treasury.
In the financing of phase II Project, AfDB has set aside 3.18m US dollars for the component of technical assistance and capacity building. The report indicates, however, that such amount is not sufficient to cover costs associated with the project.
According to the report, as far as project facilitation is concerned, about 40,868,872,699/is required as the government of Tanzania contribution. Financier (AfDB) will provide 3.18 million US dollars, but this will be used for capacity building for both DART Agency and TANROADS staff.
During implementation of phase I, DART Agency recorded several successes, notably drastically reduction of travel time and cost saving recorded for both public transport and private car users.
It is stated in the report that the average travel time reduced to 40 minutes from Kimara to the city centre. According to the report, the project has created employment to about 915 people and created business opportunities.
Students are now enjoying the DART service as there is no discrimination as was the case with the commuter buses commonly referred to as daladala.
There is also reduction of emissions from Euro III engines; employees and business community are now able to reach their work place in time due to reduced travel time and the financial institutions are now more interested to put their money into the DART system.
More achievements recorded, according to the report, including the introduction of Intelligent Transport System and Automated Fare Collection System, which have drastically reduced the use of hard cash, thus easing transportation and cash handling.
There is further notable achievement on such system being of user friendly to the disabled, thus creating equity and harmony to the society. Operation of Bus Rapid Transit in Dar es Salaam commenced on May 10, 2016, after completion and handing over of infrastructures to the DART Agency.
They include five terminals, 27 stations, four feeder stations, three connector stations, three pedestrian bridges one Bus depot at Jangwani and 20.9 km of bus ways.
The Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS) handed over DART System infrastructure I in August 2015. DART Agency started using the three pedestrian bridges of Kimara, Ubungo and Morocco in January 2016 after the general election of October 2015.
After commencing of operations, DART Agency started a pilot exercise of collecting revenue using hired Selcom electronic gadgets to set out expected revenue threshold or benchmarks on revenue collections.
During the 2016/17 financial year, the Agency decided to expand further revenue base by including some business investment potentials, such as advertising at DART bus terminals and construction and management of parking spaces at Kariakoo Bus terminal site (Feeder station).
There was also management of parking space at Kivukoni for private and community vehicles (daladala), management of daladala terminals at Morocco and Mwinyijuma and management and operations of existing toilets facilities along DART phase I corridor.
More strategies includes fitting ATM machines at Kimara, Kivukoni, Morocco and Kariakoo terminals, concession of businesses, such as kiosks and stalls on DART premises, particular at terminals as per its respective functional design and real estate development opportunities on DART owned premises.
Park and ride parking facilities that the DART Agency is working out modalities to collaborate with private sector and respective Municipal Councils to develop in the vicinity of DART stations and terminals through the Public Private Partnership arrangement.
Such development would enhance rider ship of the DART System and hence revenue and increase efficiency on BRT System. There is also utilization of owned 15 compensated premises for business venture to enhance revenue generation.
The existing core revenue of the DART system is passenger fares. The revenue is used to pay all the system actors their dues on a weekly basis. The revenue level is determined by the tariffs.
Tariff level increase in turn is periodically approved by the Government through the Treasury Registrar Office, as per section 17 of the budget Act no 11 of 2015 and its regulation.
After commencement of interim service operations, requirements of financial, technical, human resources to oversee day today provisions BRT Services has increased, while the amount of subventions from the Government has continue to shrink.
Sometimes, the report says, subventions remain constant irrespective of increased obligations. This evidences that the Agency is in critical financial situation to mitigate the cost of managing operations, supervising interim service provider (UDA-RT) and payment of salaries and statutory rights of staff.
It is indicated that the approved budget as per ceiling during 2016/17 financial year of 4,052,899,000/-as compared to actual requirement of 7,170,256,646/-, makes only 56.5 percent of the total requirements.
Therefore, as means of mitigating factors, DART Agency Management decided to come up with new strategy during the 2015/16 financial year to widen the scope of generating revenue using existing DART system phase I corridor investments opportunities.
The business development unit mapped up all existing business investment opportunities, which are potential additional revenues streams for the DART Agency.