Tanzania opened a new public transport system in its commercial capital on Wednesday, in an effort to ease the journeys of millions of commuters.
A city of four million people, Dar es Salaam until now has had only a haphazard transport system, based on mostly private mini-buses. The new network, paid for by a $290 million loan from the World Bank, will comprise more than 100 buses operating on dedicated bus lanes into the centre of the city.
“We want Dar es Salaam to become a modern city,” Tanzanian President John Magufuli said as he inaugurated the new Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit System.
He said plans were also under way to build a 200 km diesel-electric commuter rail network between Dar es Salaam and the nearby town of Morogoro.
Magufuli, nicknamed “The Bulldozer” for pushing through projects, was instrumental in implementing the rapid bus transit system when he served as the country’s works minister, before becoming president in November 2015.
“The impact of this new high-capacity transportation system on Dar es Salaam will be quite significant as residents continue to adapt to it,” said Bella Bird, the World Bank country director for Tanzania.
“With its population expected to reach 10 million in 2030, Dar es Salaam needs a well-functioning transit system to relieve congestion and to promote its productivity and competitiveness as a commercial hub, which are vital for further economic growth and improvement of the quality of life of its citizens.”