Kenya Turns to Magufuli's Legacy Project to Revive BRT System

  • Photo collage between Dar Rapid Transit (DART) in Tanzania and BRT system in Kenya.
    Photo collage between Dar Rapid Transit (DART) in Tanzania and BRT system in Kenya.
  • Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) is borrowing a leaf from the late President John Pombe Magufuli's legacy project, Dar Rapid Transit (DART) in a bid to revive the stalled Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system. 

    KURA, on Friday, September 30, deployed a team of engineers to Tanzania to benchmark how the neighbouring country rolled out the project that improved their urban mobility.

    Led by engineer Jacinta Mwangi, KURA, which is tasked with developing city roads, toured the DART project to also learn its effectiveness.

    Mwangi noted they were expected to learn how the buses operate and policies that ensure the system is successful. 

    File photo of Dar Rapid Transit (DART) in Tanzania
    File photo of Dar Rapid Transit (DART) in Tanzania.

    She added that KURA was also keen on acquiring relevant knowledge on structures adopted by Tanzania to run the bus system effectively.

    "The team intends to learn the effective implementation of DART system which traverses Dar es salaam faster and how it was executed," DART company's statement read in part. 

    Magufuli inaugurated the infrastructure and bus operations of the Dar Rapid Transit system phase 1 at Gerezani Terminal on January 25, 2017.

    Phase 1 covers 20.9 kilometres of Morogoro Road from Kimara to Kivukoni. On the other hand, BRT implementation in Kenya has continued to face headwinds. The project was already underway at Thika Superhighway.

    "The Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (Namata) proposes to establish a bus rapid transport (BRT) roads project on Thika Superhighway,” Namata stated. 

    Namata had initially mapped out five BRT lines along major roads in the city that had record-high traffic density. The routes included Limuru-Kangemi-Nairobi CBD-Imara Daima –Athi River to Kitengela corridor and the Tala-Njiru-Dandora–CBD-Ngong Road corridor.

    Others were Rongai-Bomas-CBD-Ruiru-Thika- Kenol-Murang’a road corridor and Outer Ring Road running from the Mama Lucy Hospital-Donholm to the CBD.

    A recent report by World Bank attributed the project's failure to poor institutional policies.

    "Unregulated competition from paratransit operators (informal buses, minibuses, and taxis, etc), the difficulty of finalizing compensation deals and acrimonious relationships between paratransit operators and the government in SSA affect system revenue," reads part of the World Bank report.

    However, the government expressed plans to revive the project and reduce traffic along major roads in the city.

    BRT buses pictured in Nairobi.
    BRT buses pictured in Nairobi.