For many residents of Dar es Salaam, taking the daladala is a daily necessity. With over 200 routes across the city, daladalas are medium-sized buses providing the cheapest mode of transport, enabling city dwellers to move around easily.
Daladalas were introduced as a response to an insufficient public transport system in the country. But they get their name from the Kiswahili slang, “dala”, meaning five (shillings). When the system first began, the fare was usually five shillings, so the conductors would shout out “dala dala” along the way in their bid to attract passengers. Since then, the fare has risen up to Sh400, but the name has stuck.
While daladala may run fixed routes picking up passengers at central locations, they will also stop anywhere along their route to drop someone off or allow a prospective passenger on board.
In one of our daladala adventures/experiences, we had a chat with a daladala driver, Mr Cheyo Msuya whose plies Kivukoni - Gongo la Mboto route. He had this to say; “With my route I make five round trips a day, from Kivukoni to Gongo la Mboto and back.” He adds; “My daladala can fit up to 55 passengers and since we charge Sh450 a ride, me and my conductor make between Sh30,000 and Sh40,000 a day.”
“The BRT (Bus rapid Transit) has affected us because they have taken some routes that were giving us good margin. In the future we are looking to re-evaluate the market and figure out a way to work with the system,” says Emmanuel Mlaponi, Executive Director of Christiana Public Transport.
He believes that daladala is a massive cash generating business and is still in demand despite the disruption of BRT.
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