Road

ROAD TRANSPORT
The fact that transport services can be offered through well established companies in Tanzania is not night mire. Before independence and shortly after independence urban transport services in Dar es Salaam were offered by a privately owned company called Dar es Salaam Motors Transport (DMT). It is also an historical fact that even after independence transport services in the city of Dar es Salaam were offered by one Public Company namely Shirika la Usafiri Dar es Salaam (UDA). It is therefore important to note that running urban transport by privately owned companies is not a new concept in Tanzania. UDA operated smoothly up to 1980 but due to an increase in population of the city which created a massive demand in transport services coupled with internal operational problems, the company began to be overwhelmed with tasks bestowed upon it. UDA’s failure led to extremely rapid deregulation which resulted in the development of private, occasionally speculative individual operators using micro buses and minibuses which were later popularly christened “Daladala” which more often than not had limited carriage capacity to fill this vacuum. This created a pathetic situation when demand was very high especially during peak hours. As a result, many people, in particular the elderly, students and people with disabilities could not access or afford the transport service during peak hours. Studies show that more than 50% of the city inhabitants resorted to a walking due to accessibility and affordability reasons [Pendakur, 2005] during peak hours.
Since then to date, transport services have been offered on those lines which have caused a lot of anxiety to consumers. Demand does not match supply of transport services in the city of Dar es Salaam. This is a clear indication that there is a need of a new transport system in the city of Dar es Salaam which can meet transport needs. Besides accessibility and affordability issues, the current transport system contributes highly to city congestion.
It is important to note that due to the social economic and political changes taking place in Tanzania, transport services become important factor than ever. Transport management becomes increasingly important. Public transport should thus be properly regulated to answer to the needs of city inhabitants all the time. Failure to meet these needs drives city inhabitants to seek alternative choices like self drive, use of non – motorized transport or walking. Regulatory Authorities like SUMATRA have a duty to take appropriate steps to remedy the shortcomings in the urban transport services currently being offered. SUMATRA for instant could take a decisive decision to license companies to offer transport services in the city in stead of individuals. This has many social and economic advantages to consumers, service providers and the country at large. Apart from offering user friendly transport services which in turn would encourage many people out of their cars onto public transport. By doing so would enable many city inhabitants to save costs on transport but would also rescue the environment due to reduced pollution. This move would also result in reduced fuel consumption and road accidents.

Finally this would encourage social inclusion in urban transport services.Currently, public transport sector is dominated by individuals’ service providers. There are about 3500 individuals who own about 7,000 daladala in the city ofDar es salaamalone.  Individual service providers are normally not responsible for the service they provide as their presence in the market is accidental. According to the Surface and Marine Transport Consumer Consultative Council’s Report on Daladala fares in Dar es Salaam in 2005, the Council commented that unlike in many cities and towns elsewhere, where transport was provided by established companies, Dar es Salaam city transport is provided by three groups/categories of people as follows: – some retired leaders, retired officers and ordinary citizens who want to try their luck. The Council further commented that daladala owners in Dar es Salaam would be roughly be categorized as follows: – 35 percent were those who were using the business to legalize their money (money laundering), 35 percent were operating daladala as side businesses and whatever they got from the business was just pocket money for them and the remaining 30 percent was of those whose lively-hood depended on the daladala business. Thus about 70 percent of the daladala owners are in no way serious with the daladala business. In its concluding remarks, the Council noted that almost 90 per cent of the buses offering city transport services did not meet the standards for the job.

From the above premises, city transport is not provided on competitive basis and hence no substantial investments have been made in the sector. As a result the public transport service sector is characterized by small old minibuses, unqualified drivers, chaos, routes short circuiting and destruction caused by reckless drivers who don’t care about the safety of their passengers, pedestrians and that of their vehicles. A study by BICO commissioned bySUMATRAindicated fatalities rate of different groups of road users for the year 2000 to 2005 where passengers accounted for 42.8 per cent while pedestrians accounted for 32.9 per cent and the drivers accounted only for 11.6 per cent.

The report further highlighted that 76.4 percent of the accidents occured as a result of human error due to the use of unqualified drivers probably being the major cause. It is worthy noting that accidents cause huge losses amid poor services including weakening the owners financially and the country’s economy as a whole.

For the transport sector inTanzaniato do well – the government has been advised to harmonize all traffic laws, regulations and institutional set up. Lack of harmonization of laws and institutional set up has retarded growth of transport sub sector. SUMATRAfor example regulates Surface and Marine Transport sub sector. The regulator should be vested with social as well as economic regulation in the market it regulates. This is not the case withSUMATRAon road transport.SUMATRAexercises economic regulation only while social regulation is done by Traffic Police who unfortunately have no regulatory expertise. In order to have in place a sustainable transport system, there is a dire need to review the existing institutional set up and legal framework under which road transport is being carried out.The aim of these recommended amendments of various traffic laws and institutional set up in transport sub sector is to ensure accountability and responsibility through effective regulations by one institution notably SUMATRA. It is through this scheme that order can be restored to public transport in major cities and towns.

What should be done then? In order to improve urban transport services, firstly, collective efforts are needed. It is imperative, however, for the institutions entrusted with mandate to enforce traffic laws to adhere to professional ethics. Transport is a profession just like other professions. In order to change the status quo, it is necessary to observe professionalism in the sector. This can only be done where transport services are offered in companies which are run professionally. In the current transport set, where transport services are offered by individuals who take daladala business as side businesses, cannot offer city transport services in a professional manner.

In the above premises, the Regulator should take a decision that should conclude the process of licensing service providers who have registered themselves in companies, the process that started a couple of years ago. This is the only way that the regulator can restore order in road transport services.

Secondly, harmonization of transport laws and Institutional set up is a must. There are currently too many fragmented laws providing for transport and there are too many institutions and therefore many authorities dealing with transport. As a result every authority in isolation of the other authorities decides on matters that would have been done jointly. A vivid a example is the Magogoni –Kigamboni new tariff saga.SUMATRAis vested with economic regulation that is setting tariff for marine vessels. Ferries Act (Cap. 173) vests the same mandate to the Minister for Works. When the Minister came up with new tariffs, the majority of Tanzanians accused him of usurpingSUMATRA’s mandate. However the Minister was right because the Ferries Act, gave him that mandate and this is a real example of a disharmonized legal framework and institutional set up inTanzania.

 

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