AN additional financing worth 100 million US dollars (over 159.8bn/-) has been released by the World Bank to support the slow moving Bus Rapid Transit project in Dar es Salaam amidst reports that the original design has been changed.
In a statement released, the Bank said its executive board approved the additional financing last Tuesday which brings the total financing under the Second Central Transport Corridor Project to 290 million US dollars (over 463.5bn/-). "Dar es Salaam is growing rapidly, traffic jams are a significant problem for the economy.
They reduce productivity by wasting the time of road users. They threaten future growth prospects for the city and the country and pollute the environment," said World Bank Country Director for Burundi, Tanzania, and Uganda, Philippe Dongier. BRT is being implemented by Dar es Salaam Rapid Transport (DART) agency and targets transporting 300,000 commuters on 148 buses with a capacity of 140 passengers each daily.
Another 100 buses with a capacity of 60 passengers each will operate on feeder roads linking to the trunk roads. The BRT will replace more than 1,800 daladalas operating on the commercial capital's roads which force commuters to take up to three hours to cover the 20.9 kms from Kimara to Kigamboni ferry.
But in a bizarre twist of events, World Bank Transport Specialist in Dar es Salaam, Yonas Mchomvu said the project, which many city residents have criticized for the slow pace of implementation, is actually on schedule. "We are happy with the speed of implementation of the BRT infrastructure as all contracts have been awarded and construction is proceeding," Mr Mchomvu noted.
Angry motorists, commuters and business people condemned the slow pace of construction by Strabag International GmbH and supervising consultants, Smec International Pty Limited. But sources in the project told 'Daily News' that the slow construction pace was caused by inadequate funding after the project design was changed to include more private property, Tanesco and Dawasco infrastructure acquisition and relocation to give it right of way.
Frustrated motorists told 'Daily News' last week that they now take three hours to drive between Kimara and the Central Business District. Business owners between Bibi Titi Mohammed and Morogoro roads and Samora and Morogoro roads junction, a less than 1.5 kilometre stretch, said their premises have been blocked from being accessed by customers for the last three months as Strabag struggled to demolish and repair the road.
The World Bank statement said the BRT system which will generate 40.9 million US dollars per annum when it becomes fully operational in 2015, will be managed on a public private partnership with two private bus operators, one fare collector and a fund manager.