Dar es Salaam. The Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit Agency (Dart) says it is determined to get the second operator on the bus rapid transit (BRT) system by early next year after two failures in the past.
Dart chief executive Ronald Lwakatare told The Citizen this week that the process to procure the services of the second operator has already started and would be completed by next January.
“We will soon advertise the tender in accordance with public procurement procedures,” he said.
This is Dart’s third attempt to find an operator to join Udart in providing BRT services in the city, Mr Lwakatare noted.
The operator will be required to deploy at least 165 new buses in the first phase of project under the supply, operation and maintenance mode.
“We faced some challenges in getting another operator. Many did not meet the required qualifications, while others thought our contractual terms were not attractive enough,” he said.
In order to attract eligible operators, Dart is revising contractual terms such as those related to fees paid by operators to Dart for using the BRT infrastructure.
Dart is, for example, considering changing the modality of charging the access fees from a fixed rate of Sh8.1 million per day to a sum that will depend on the number of kilometres covered in a day.
“We are sure that this time around we will get a reliable operator because we have improved terms and conditions of our contracts,” Mr Lwakatare said.
The suggestion of changing the fee structure will be shared with key stakeholders including the World Bank and the government.
Dart started the procurement process for the second operator in 2016, about a year after the BRT services were launched. However, the tender was re-advertised in May 2017 after an eligible operator could not be found.
The second operator is expected to ease the shortage of buses that currently plagues BRT services.
Mr Lwakatare said commuters should not lose hope as far as improvement of BRT services was concerned.
“In fact, we are going to implement all six phases of the BRT project as planned. This year, we expect to embark on the construction of the project’s second phase,” he noted.