PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has voiced his concern on plans to construct a temporary upcountry bus terminal in the vicinity of the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) at a cost of 2bn/-.
The proposed new terminal is meant to relocate the current station at Ubungo to reduce congestion in the area in future, thanks to ongoing public transportation projects in the city. Mr Kikwete said shortly before laying a foundation stone for construction of infrastructure for the Dar es Salaam Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in the city that spending 2bn/- on a temporary bus terminal amounted to misuse of public funds.
He thus directed the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner to coordinate with the Tanzania National Roads Agency (Tanroads) and Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit Agency (DART) to work on a plan to have a permanent location. "The idea of having a temporary terminal near UDSM is a short-sighted one.
You should come up with an idea of setting up a permanent structure," Mr Kikwete said during the occasion which was held at the Jangwani Grounds in the city. The BRT buses that would ply the Kimara-Kivukoni route are expected to carry about 406,000 passengers per day, according to the Tanroads Chief Executive, Mr Patrick Mfugale.
The president was concerned that there would be heavy motor vehicle congestion at Ubungo in few years to come due to the presence of the upcountry bus terminal in the area, the envisaged city passenger train as well as the BRT. "At present there about 300 buses that ply to upcountry regions every morning and also in the evening.
If we are to add 180 buses that would be plying the Kimara-Kivukoni route through BRT and the passenger train slated for October this year Ubungo would be highly congested. "It is important therefore that plans are made in advance to ensure that due to the envisaged transport projects the situation does not turn into a menace," Mr Kikwete warned.
On the other hand, he hailed the World Bank Group for extending a credit of 138m US dollars (approximately 225bn/-) for implementation of the first phase of the project. Speaking earlier, Works Minister Dr John Magufuli, said that the project, which is expected to be completed by March 8, 2015, has been accomplished by 20 per cent so far.
He was optimistic that completion of the project would increase the average speed of motor vehicles from 10km per hour during peak hours to about 25km per hour. Dr Magufuli also pledged before the president that his ministry in collaboration with Tanroads would ensure that the project is completed on time and on requisite standards.
He, however, blasted the Chief Executive of DART, Mr Cosmas Takule, whom he accused of stalling the project by failing to pay compensation on time to people who are supposed to be relocated to pave the way for construction work. On his part, the World Bank Country Director for Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi, Mr Philippe Dongier, said decongestion of the city road traffic is critical for productivity of the economy and to sustain growth.
"The construction of the BRT route is an important milestone for infrastructure that will shape the future development of the city," said the WB representative. Implementation of the BRT would be undertaken in six phases.
The first phase, which is currently underway will involve construction of 20km from Kimara-Kivukoni, Morocco-Magomeni and Fire-Karikaoo. The Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner, Mr Said Mecky Sadick, said the loss of time and resources due to traffic jams in the city is immeasurable.