IT’S crazy and hectic driving in Dar es Salaam. City Commuters especially those heading to or coming from Mbezi Mwisho have to spend much time on the road because of the ongoing construction of Morogoro road. TANROADS have once again failed to provide alternative routes to easy traffic jam on this road.
You may remember the mayhem during the construction of the BRT transport system along the same road. Its torment will take time to heal.
The presence of heavy trucks along this road is not only disruptive but also a burden. I remember there was an initiative to construct a dry port at Vigwaza in Coast region where all these trucks could be heading to offload and load goods.
If the initiative is still on, once it is completed will greatly easy traffic jam along this road. The initiative to establish satellite towns in Kibamba, Temeke and Kigamboni should be taken off the ‘shelves’ now! Whilst we appreciate all these initiatives and the work that is underway at the moment along this road, it is important for the traffic police to continue directing drivers and to deal with crazy bodaboda and bhajaj drivers.
Worth noting the traffic jam, air pollution and noise from matching guys is ‘murder’ in the City. Despite the introduction of Bus Rapid Transport (BRT), traffic jam has continued to hurt many Dar residents. It is a burden to both residents as well as the country’s economy.
Since huge traffic is heading to City Centre every morning, congestion has remained a stubborn thorn at the back of JPM’s government, making life harder to City dwellers, hurting the economy as well as the environment.
A research study conducted by Lasse Moller Jensen, Head of Geography section at the University of Copenhagen in collaboration with the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Dar es Salaam (2015), reveals that rapid spatial growth and population growth in Dar es Salaam, coupled with a rise in car ownership, is putting strain on Dar es Salaam’s insufficient road network.
City residents have to grapple with heavy traffic delays and the city becomes practically inaccessible during rush hours. Statistics from the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Central Motor Vehicle Registration puts the number of registered vehicles in Dar es Salaam to 1 million plus.
These include daladalas, bhajaji and motorcycles which are used for public passenger transportation. Buses, Lorries and trucks, government as well as development partner’s vehicles are not part of this figure. It is estimated that an average Tanzanian middle class family owns at least two cars and that the cars are cruised in the city’s dilapidated and overburdened roads every single day.
The number of hours lost in the queue per day is 4-5 hours! Picture this, an employee who lives at the outskirts of this commercial city, say for instance Mbezi Mwisho in Ubungo (20 Km from the City), has to wake up around 4.00 A.M to avoid traffic jam which starts from 6.00 A.M. all the way to 11.00 A.M when it becomes a bit lighter.
Looking at the hours this employee spend on the road and the time s/he works up throughout the week it’s obvious that s/he will be unproductive because of fatigue.
Again many studies confirm that passenger vehicles such as Daladala’s and heavy duty trucks are the main source of air pollution which includes Ozone, particulate matter, and other smog-forming emissions. In addition, they produce significant amounts of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and other pollution.
In 2014, transportation contributed more than half of the carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, and almost a quarter of the hydrocarbons emitted into our air. Worth noting, the health risks of air pollution are extremely serious. Poor air quality increases respiratory ailments like asthma and bronchitis, heightens the risk of life-threatening conditions like cancer, and burdens our health care system with substantial medical costs. Particulate matter is linked to premature deaths to hundreds of unborn children each year.
“I nearly got a heart attack as I was driving to town early in the morning. We were at the traffic lights at Ubungo highway and suddenly an irate person banged my car at the back and thought I was hit by another car only to find a wanker yelling despicable thingsI couldn’t understand. What made me even mad was the amount of hoots that followed as I tried to check what had happened,” recounts Bryton Swai (30), a Dar resident! In Dar es Salaam such incidences are common and life has to move on.
Apart from noise and air pollution, accident related to transportations systems in Tanzania are very profound associated with commuters, pedestrians and cyclists. Roads have fewer sidewalks, and those that exist are often taken over by impatient drivers trying to overcome traffic congestions.
“It’s hectic driving in Dar es Salaam these days, as a driver you have be extremely watchful! You have to be mindful of crazy cyclists (bodabodas) who usually do not observe traffic rules, then you have Daladala drivers, pedestrians and other reckless drivers! Then you have crazy machingas (hawkers) surrounds your to make you buy their merchandise…,” Bryton Swai observes.
Indeed, it’s our life and that is how we have chosen it to be by opting to live in this City.
For those who lost their loved ones, I convey my deepest condolence; Poleni Sana and let all the souls that have gone back to the ‘country of origin’ rest in eternal peace.I know your loved ones were likable people with buoyant personalities that brought energy and gravitas in your families as well as society. R.I.P!