Dar es Salaam. Commuters today started enjoying the Dar es Salaam Bus Rapid Transit (Dart), which has started services connecting the City Centre with Morogoro and Kawawa roads.
The Citizen witnessed travellers in Kimara, the final destination of Dart along Morogoro Road enquiring about the busses from as early as 6am and station guards informed them that the buses would arrive from 10am. At 10am, the gates of UDART Yard in Jangwani were opened.
By noon, the buses were roving all over the transit lanes from Kivukoni to Kimara and Kariakoo to Morocco, with a constant flow that took a maximum of two minutes before a bus reached a station.
From today and tomorrow the commuters are enjoying a free ride. However, ticket attendants used the moment to educate travellers on two payment systems that would be used, a receipt and an electronic card and how to pay.
Two category of busses are in operation. The first referred to as express only stops in few stages - from the City Centre they only stop at Magomeni Mapipa, Maanzese, Ubungo Bus Terminal, Ubungo Maji and Kimara.
The second category, referred to as normal busses stop at each stage. The express buses are required not to use more than 40 minutes from Kivukoni to Kimara, while the normal buses are required to use not more than an hour for the same route.
By noon, all busses from the City Centre were packed with passengers, who expressed joy with many praising how well-organised the trips were yesterday.
Mr John Mmanda, a Kimara resident, said the project would help to a considerable extent Kimara residents, who before were spending hours in traffic jam. “For a Kimara resident, who wants to reach the General Post Office Station by 8am is forced to be up by 4am and ensure that he is on commuter bus by 5.30am, but now with Dart you can count only a maximum of an hour, what a relief,” he remarked.
On a bad day a drive from Kimara to the Central Business District, which is only 15 kilometres could take up to three hours, but with Dart, commuters will spend a maximum of 40 minutes by express busses and an hour with normal busses for the same distance.
Ms Amina Chande of Ubungo, who works at Kariakoo said finally an-all time reliable transport between the two areas had come true. “Due to chronic jams, some buses were cutting routes and this paved the way for taxis and other private cars to charge up to Sh3,000 from Kariakoo to Ubungo, but now we will pay only Sh650 and we will spend just between 20 and 30 minutes on the road, thanks to the government for this project,” she said.