DART, Abu Dhabi company close in on rapid transport deal

TANGA: The Dar es Salaam Rapid Transport Agency (DART) has said negotiations are at an advanced stage with an Abu Dhabi-based private company, Emirates National Group (ENG), which is expected to run the rapid transport operations in Dar es Salaam.

The Chief Executive of DART, Dr Athumani Kihamia said during a press conference held at the Tanga Press Club (TPC) headquarters in Tanga recently that if the deal is finalised ENG will bring in a total of 177 buses to provide services in the city.

Dr Kihamia added that if the negotiations sail through, the contract is expected to be signed this month and that the buses will be delivered into the country in September and October, ready for service.

He pointed out that the negotiation process and desire to find a partner to run rapid transport activities through the rapid bus system in Dar es Salaam City began in 2017 when the government advertised tenders to provide the service to private service providers under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) law.

He said negotiations stalled due to disagreements over the price (fare) and the issue of arbitration.

“In 2020, the government advertised tenders, whereby 40 companies submitted their sealed bids including ENG, which emerged top and the process continued until reaching the point of signing a 12-year contract,” he told the press.

Dr Kihamia stated that the arbitrator’s issue, the price issue, and the addition of a section of DART that allows it to terminate contract at any time if it is dissatisfied with the performance, hampered the process again.

However, after the government amended the PPP law, the issue of the arbitrator was resolved, and engaging an international arbitrator was allowed because the contract is quite large.

Similarly, he stated that the issue of contract termination at any time by DART had been resolved as well.

He explained that the rapid bus transport service is currently provided by a transitional service provider — UDART Company, which operates approximately 90 buses.

The CE emphasised that the current service provider –UDART will continue to provide services because many city areas need such services.

“We intend to expand our services not only for the city of Dar es Salaam but in all cities in the country,” Dr Kihamia told reporters.

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