Free education gets impetus as DART allocates more students-designated buses

FOR some time now primary and secondary school students in Dar es Salaam region have been facing a major challenge in accessing transport to and from their respective schools.

This has been associated with lack of enough commuter buses to ferry, not only students but also city dwellers in their totality.

Peak hours that comprise the morning and evening hours, were times when little boys and girls were paying the extra price of reaching educational grounds and leave them.

Some challenges facing students were pandemonium, segregation, taking long hours in the buses before reaching school areas. In the evening hours, the pupils reached their homes very late, all these have negative impacts in learning.

However, the Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit Agency (DART), which started operations in the year 2016, came as a rescue for city commuters by trimming down travel time to half an hour from an average of three hours as it was from Kimara Bus Terminal to the City Centre.

The joy of the primary and secondary school students is not taken aboard due to procurement of the faster transportation means, but history changed dramatically to the lucky ones living and standing within reach of the 21 km Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) buses infrastructure.

With start of the new schools semester this January, Dar es Salaam Bus Rapid Transit (DART) has taken a step further to complement President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan’s efforts of offering free education by adding four buses to carry primary and secondary school students in Dar es Salaam region to school and back home.

Apart from simplifying transportation, the buses give students an opportunity to study while on the rapid buses and to discuss various educational topics.

The routes, which start as early as 06 o’clock in the morning comprise that from Kimara to Kivukoni, Kimara to Gerezani while linking with Morocco as well. Students also join feeder routes to Kibaha, Mwenge, Mlonganzila and Muhimbili.

“This programme which aims at promoting President Samia’s vision of offering free education has been received with a great response. We have dedicated four long buses, which are also used to ferry students back in the evening to their homes on time, so that they can get time to rest, help parents and revise their studies,” Dr Philemon Mzee, DART Director of Operations and Infrastructure Management told the ‘Daily News’ in Dar es Salaam this week.

DART reached this decision after President Samia’s efforts of building more classes and hiring more teachers attracted many children to join primary and secondary school studies and hence, the transporter moved in supporting free education policy, as part of striving for sustainable development.

According to Dr Mzee, in the evening hours, the rapid transit buses that are dedicated for students transport start offering service to students to return home from Kivukoni to Kimara from 16:30 and from Gerezani to Kimara terminals from 17:00.

“This service is indeed useful, going with the government’s plans as it has helped many students to go to school and return home early without the inconvenience and hence, we hope it will raise school performance,” he said. Derrick Mwambe, who studies at Mtendeni Primary School, expressed his happiness on the comfortable means of reaching school, saying that such transportation means is a revolution as it eliminates hurdles of struggling for education.

“We are not harassed, rejected or struggling to board buses as it was the case in conventional transport means which led to arriving late to school and returning home in the evening, very tired,” he testified.

Construction of BRT Phase Two is near its completion and projections are that dwellers of the Mbalagala suburbs are set to start enjoying new and quicker transport in few months to come.

DART Director for Transport Development, Engineer Fanuel Kalugendo, said that all is going well, while ferrying passengers using the 20.6 Km long BRT infrastructures is expected to start by March 2023 after the contractor finalizes his job.

“Already about 750 buses dedicated for this route have been procured and it is estimated that about 750,000 passengers will be transported per day when we officially launch this route. This is for the main carriageway (trunk) and feeder roads services,” Engineer Kalugendo said during a street clean-up campaign officiated by Temeke District Commissioner, Ms Jokate Mwegelo last year.

This means that primary and secondary school students plying between Mbagala and the City Centre route and its feeder roads will, as well, get a relief when this project is in full swing, a move that will grant flexibility to passengers and the young learners.

Statistics show that currently DART buses ferry more than 200,000 passengers a day, a sign that such services are attracting many city dwellers, hence creativity to maintain quality transportation services cannot in any way be avoided.

This number is expected to triple when phase two starts operations and hence, Dar es Salaam city will have more opportunity to cut down time for commuting and reducing carbon emissions from private motorcars used by many people on daily basis.

Related Articles

Back to top button