Dar es Salaam. The Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC) is planning to construct six new railway network routes for commuter transport, covering Dar es Salaam and its suburbs.
The main objective, according to TRC’s director of Corporate Planning and Investment, Ms Nzeyimana Dyegula, is to meet the increasing demand for transport within the city, whose population is projected to rise from six million to 7.3 million in 2025 - and 8.6 million in 2030.
Route ‘A’ - as she termed it - is an inner ring route linking the Mikocheni, Mwenge, Ubungo, Tazara and Mtoni areas.
Route ‘B’ will start at the Central Business District (CBD) to Pugu and Airport, while Route ‘C’ would connect Mwenge, Wazo Hill and Bagamoyo.
Route ‘D’ would cover the outer city circle linking Vikindu Charambe, Chamanzi, Kitunda, Chanika, Pugu, Mbezi, Luguruni, Kibamba to Kibaha. It also goes to Mbezi Luis, Goba, Salasala, Mongani and up to Kunduchi.
The fifth route (‘E’) would start at the Kilwa Road intersection in Mtoni to Tandika, Yombo Vituka, Vingunguti, Tabata Dampo, Ubungo ending around the Bagamoyo Road/Sam Nujoma Road intersection at Mwenge.
The last route (‘F’) starts at the CBD to Kigamboni via the Nyerere Bridge.
However, the cost of the project is yet to be revealed. Ms Dyegula said this would be known after completion of the final detailed design. The feasibility study and preliminary design were completed in December 2019.
“TRC plans to employ a transactional advisor to package the idea as a Public/Private Project (P/PP) investment,” she noted.
The corporation was also searching for other possible financing options to ensure the project is implemented.
“The annual population growth in Dar city is an average of 6.1 percent, with expectation of reaching around 10 million people come 2030 from current six million. The increasing population will also need transport,” she said.
Currently, TRC operates two commuter routes at main line sections between the Dar es Salaam railway station and Pugu station (20km), siding with Dar es Salaam station to Ubungo-Maziwa (12km).
Also the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (Tazara) operates one route between Tazara satiation and Mwakanga station (18km).
The Ubungo commuter train has eight wagons (coaches), ferrying an average of 4,900 passengers a day, according to her.
The Pugu commuter train operates nineteen coaches, transporting 15,456 passengers per day.
However, commuter train passengers decreased by 30 per cent in both two routes in 2018/19 compared to 2017/18.
According to her, a total of 4.23 million passengers were transported in 2019 compared to 6.04 million passengers transported in 2018.
“The decrease was due to a shift of Dar es Salaam station to Kamata station, and introduction of the Mfugale flyover, which has reduced congestion and attracts more passengers to use private vehicles or commuter buses,” she said.
Other challenges include lack of locomotives and wagons; loss of revenues due to unfenced stations; tight operating schedules and high operational costs due to use of main locomotives and wagons.
At least 35 percent and 32 percent of the corporation’s expenditures go to fuel and labour costs, according to her.