Hopes were high that the bus rapid transit (BRT) system would end commuter transport woes in Dar es Salaam.
Undoubtedly, the multibillion-shilling project is not a white elephant, as it has reduced commuting time on some of the city’s chaotic roads.
Nonetheless, uncertainty of BRT services – especially in rain and from long queues at bus stops – raises questions.
The target when the project started in 2016 was to have 305 buses operating daily, but today there are only 140 buses plying various routes. Without mincing words, this is a joke for a city of over five million residents.
We understand that 70 buses have been lying at Dar es Salaam Port for over three months. It is up to the owners and the government to sort out issues hindering their release.
Even when released, they will still fall far below commuter demand. There is, however, a glimmer of hope that another operator who comes on board later this year would help ease the challenges that plague BRT operations.
Frequent lapses in commuter transport service provision for whatever reason – including sudden downpours – are unacceptable. Not only do they deny government much-needed revenue, they also raise questions as to the ability of those behind the project to make it a success.