Tanzania’s head of state, John Magufuli, commissioned a $290 million public transport system in Dar es Salaam to ease traffic congestion in the city.
Dar es Salaam is the largest city in the East African region with a population of approximately five million inhabitants, and the large population has made it impossible for convenience of running business in the city due to traffic congestion.
Until the launch of the $290 million public transport by the president, Tanzania was depending on a haphazard transport system-which is largely private based with matatus and mini-buses dominating the public transport sector.
The Rapid-transport system is meant to make it convenient for millions of commuters using public means of transport while easing congestions on roads.
“The impact of this new high-capacity transportation system on Dar es Salaam will be quite significant as residents continue to adapt to it,”Bella Bird, World Bank country director for Tanzania
Dar es Salaam is projected to have 10 million citizens by the year 2030, and this population is likely to push the existing infrastructure to its limit, likely congesting public transport. The Bus Rapid Transport project will likely extend the capacity of this infrastructure, coupled with the use of dedicated lanes. Given the number of cars and smaller PSVs that this could remove from the roads, the existing infrastructure can adequately meet the growing number of residents living in the city.
“Dar es Salaam needs a well-functioning transit system to relieve congestion and to promote its productivity and competitiveness as a commercial hub, which is vital for further economic growth and improvement of the quality of life of its citizens.” said Bella Bird, World Bank country director for Tanzania.
The $290 million public transport system which was funded by a loan from World Bank will see more than 100 buses operating on dedicated bus lanes into the centre of the city.
Plans are also under way for a 200 km diesel-electric commuter rail network between Dar es Salaam and the nearby town of Morogoro.
These developments could see Dar es Salaam challenge for a position as the regional hub in terms of commercial activities by easing transportation challenges and enabling the efficient movement of passengers and goods.
Before commissioning the $290 million transport system in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's president also received a $305 million loan in 2016 from the World Bank to expand its main port in Dar es Salaam where congestion and inefficiencies are hampering ambitions to transform the East African nation into a regional transport hub.
Restructuring the port of Dar es Salaam is seen by many as a rival measure to overtake the Mombasa port, which at the moment is the largest port in East Africa. However, Mombasa is stretched by congestion and limited capacity.
Dar es Salaam acts as a trade gateway for landlocked countries in East and Central African states such as Zambia, Rwanda, Malawi, Burundi and Uganda.
In 2014, the World Bank issued a report indicating that inefficiencies at the port of Dar es Salaam cost Tanzania and its neighbouring nations up to $ 2.6 billion annually.
The Transport Department at Tanzania's Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure plans to lift capacity at the port with help from the African Development Bank from the current 15 million tonnes currently to 28 million tonnes a year by 2020.