While road expansion work has started along Morogoro highway, feasibility studies along Kilwa and Nyerere roads have already been completed and the second phase of the project may start while the first phase is still in progress.
When Dart Chief Executive Officer, Mr Cosmas Takule held a meeting with former residents of Gerezani area at Arnatoglou Hall, Mnazi Mmoja in Ilala district some months ago he explained in detail how the project was taking shape.
Mr Takule says that after settling on the issue of compensation, the first phase project is proceeding without drawbacks as it had stalled for some years. "The first phase alone involves construction of 29 ordinary bus stops, five bus terminals and two bus depots along the project corridor from Kivukoni to Kimara, which has already created many jobs in its initial stages", says Mr Takule.
Once completed, says Mr Takule, more people will be employed as bus drivers, guards, ticketing officers and others who will be working in control centres as well as other ventures related to the project. He points out that the first phase of the project will cost 400bn/- and with the completion of the feasibility studies of Kilwa and Nyerere roads, the second phase starts automatically.
Until May this year, the government had already spent 11.5bn/- to compensate people whose property had to be demolished for the infrastructure of BRT and had set aside another 12.03bn/- to compensate more people. DART agreed in principal to compensate former residents of Gerezani whose houses were demolished after meeting with Ilala Municipality Mayor, Mr Jerry Silaa and representatives of the residents.
Mr Silaa urged the residents to collect their compensation from DART offices in support of government efforts to improve DART compensation saga settled infrastructure and ease traffic congestion in the city. According to Silaa, it is not in anyone's interest to listen to opponents of the project, pleading with the residents to think for themselves and do what is best for all Dar es Salaam residents.
"It is best that you do not pay attention to what people have to say and do what you believe is right to avoid unnecessary disturbances in the future," he says. The Chairman of the Gerezani Residents' Committee, Mr Rogert Kaniki, has commended the government for resolving the issue of compensation and called on others not to be duped into refusing the government's offer.
According to Mr Takule, the government everyday loses about 4bn/- due to traffic jam in the city of Dar es Salaam. This is because people fail to reach at their particular destination on time, thus failing to conduct their day to day activities effectively.
When you talk to Mr Takule you will immediately realize that it is true that DART project will create economic value when the first bus will be seen plying between Kimara and Kigamboni areas in 2014. The work has now gained momentum after the Gerezani residents accepted to vacate this area. Mr Takule says that DART system is being developed in six phases involving six main corridors and arterial roads in Dar es Salaam.
The project has been designed to provide mass transport programme that is both affordable, of high-quality, to improve the overall mobility of the city. "Implementation plan has been developed with the first corridor being implemented currently, while the remaining corridors will be implemented in every two to four years," says Mr Takule.
He adds that phase one of the DART system is being implemented along Morogoro, Kawawa roads, Msimbazi Street, Sokoine Drive and Kivukoni road. DART is visional to have modern public transport system at a reasonable cost to the users and yet profitable to the operators using quality buses which meet international service standards as each bus will have ability to carry over 140 passengers.
DART faces some challenges, including inadequate budget set for the plan and disinclination of the residents of some areas where corridors pass to depart from the areas and give them hard time in implementing their plans. When Mr George Mkuchika was the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (Regional Administration and Local Government) he played a key part in implementing the project, when he advised the residents of the areas where corridors pass to cooperate with DART so that the mission is implemented efficiently.
"I call on the residents to abide with the court order by accepting the compensation from the government and vacate the area to pave way for the construction of the bus stand, failure to do so we will have to demolish their homes," Mr Mkuchika said. The minister also gave a seven- day ultimatum to traders at a banana market popularly known as Mahakama ya Ndizi Market in Urafiki area to demolish their structures erected on the road reserve or else they will face the music.
DART project will likely cost about 200bn/-, with each kilometre of the road costing approximately 5 million US dollars, with each 10.5km having a separate contractor. The majority of the funding for the project is supplied by the World Bank, while the government of Tanzania has contributed money to compensate residents who are affected by the project. Upon completion of the project, the DART system will cover the main roads of the city, including Bagamoyo, Nyerere, Kilwa and Morogoro.
The completed network of roads will be composed of 137 kilometres, 18 terminals and 228 stations. In addition, the DART project will include pedestrian paths and crossing facilities as well as open spaces, feeder roads, six feeder stations and parking facilities, specifically for bicycles near stations and terminals.
Mr Takule says that the first phase of the project is expected to cover 20.9 kilometres of exclusive bus lanes in addition to 29 stations, 2 depots, and 5 terminals, located at Ferry, Kariakoo, Morocco, Ubungo and Kimara areas. "Our system will use closed stations, which are suitable for both disadvantaged and people without disability," says Mr Takule adding that DART will utilize high capacity buses each with ability to carry between 140 and 150 people, sitting and standing.
About 145 articulated buses will be used on seven routes of the truck corridors, he says. Due to necessary demolition of some buildings, there is a need for the government and all stakeholders to educate the residents who are affected by the implementation of the project on compensation in order to pave way for the project.
Mr Takule says that DART faces challenges such as lack of an efficient public transport system, thus contributing to increased personal vehicle use and pollution. Air quality monitoring studies in Dar es Salaam have confirmed that vehicles are a major source of pollution, hence the need for modern and efficient public transport system.
To alleviate the problem, DART is implementing the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) that is intended to deliver fast, comfortable and cost-effective urban mobility. DART intends to have a modern public transport system, which is reasonable costs to the users, profitable to the operators, and the one that provides services which meet international standards, the one that is environmentally friendly, and the one that operates on exclusive lanes, and at less travelling time.
Since there is no sharing of routes with Daladalas, a single DART bus will displace about 10 minibuses along the corridor together with their usual terribly fuming exhausts. The air quality will definitely improve along DART corridors.
The National Transport Policy (2003) emphasizes that all aspects of environment protection and management are given sufficient attention at the design and development stages of transport infrastructure and when providing services.
The policy also advocates for strengthening of institutional framework and legislation for the provision of effective, reliable and integrated transport service. For DART to operate effectively there is a need to enact regulations that will restrict the age of imported vehicles and to ensure that imported gasoline vehicles are equipped with functioning catalytic converters by 2011.
DART should also explore and adopt modern technologies that promote vehicle fuel efficiency and reduce emissions including catalytic converters, diesel retrofits and low emission vehicles and also harmonise vehicle emission standards within the sub-region. Benefits of cleaner buses and fuels include use of lower sulphur fuels which will enable efficient functioning of emission reduction technologies installed in these buses.
Cleaner buses will ultimately improve engine life and lower maintenance costs and reduce vehicle emission and green house gases and improve public health and hence a national consensus to import diesel with 500ppm sulphur or lower is necessary.
Minister for Works, Dr John Magufuli, has already directed Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) to relocate electricity poles from areas earmarked for construction of the Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit (Dart) infrastructure.
During his visit to the sites of the project recently, Dr Magufuli gave Tanesco one week to start relocating the poles to pave the way for implementation of the project which has been on the cards for several years. “Government entities that have a role to play in this project should act accordingly and stop blaming one another... they should not wait for us to use force to relocate facilities in the reserved areas,” he said.
At this juncture, he also asked Dar es Salaam Water Services Company (Dawasco) to immediately start restructuring the water infrastructures to avoid damages that could occur during the development of DART.
The Kimara-Kivukoni project would cost over 280bn/-. This would finance construction of 21-kilometre road, bus stops and three mini flyovers. On the other hand, the government is spending about 88bn/- on constructing Mwenge-Tegeta road.