Kimara has one of the sexiest names among all Dar Es Salaam suburbs.It is a place full of young suburban professionals. Many are married with one or two children. All of them work in Dar Es Salaam and share the same distaste for wasting time and energy commuting to the Central Business District and other suburbs. They are among the first beneficiaries of Dar Es Salaam Rapid Transport (DART) system which offers the service between Kimara and Kivukoni (ferry area).One frustrated commuter, Jason (not his real name), said that he reached a point last year when he could no longer bear the traffic between his home in Kimara Dar Es Salaam, few kilometres after a placed called Ubungo and his office in Masaki, North Dar Es Salaam.After commuting by car for more than four years, Jason said that he gave up and turned to the DART buses. “Previously, I was pessimistic that I could count on increasingly popular DART buses, especially their punctuality,” he told your blogger.However, Jason said that, after a while, he found that commuting by DART bus was not that bad. “I must say it is not very comfortable. But at least it is punctual and fast. For most workers, punctuality comes first,” he said. Jason said that he could currently reach his office in one and a half hours, faster than his journey by car, which could take up to two hours. “The DART buses are also cheaper. I don’t spend much for the car’s fuel and parking,” Jason said. And, he added, he could sleep all the way to city. He is not the only commuter avoiding gridlock by traveling by DART buses.Musa(not his real name) who lives in Ubungo said that together with his wife they commuted by DART buses since they moved to Ubungo a year ago. “As a matter of fact, we considered Ubungo because we saw it had reliable bus service,” Musa said.
Musa and her wife previously rented a house in Segerea in Dar Es Salaam. Before finding a home of their own, the couple compared the DART buss service in Ubungo and other services offered by DalaDala in Greater Dar Es Salaam.“The DART buses plying the Kimara route is less crowded, and thus, more comfortable than other routes using DalaDala,” he said.However, the DART buses are not without their drawbacks. He said that the DART buses were less than pristine and crowded. “DART buses should be added since we have more people traveling by them,” he said.I also learned that some commuters drive and park their cars at the nearest station. According to people i know very well for many years and who live in areas where DART bus services are available, the daily cost of parking was cheap given the sense of comfort and safety provided. The DART bus makes several stops after leaving Kimara, including stops in the densely populated areas such as Manzese, Magomeni, before ending at the Kivukoni. A one way trip costs are cheaper compared to number of litres of fuel needed to drive a private car.The buses are equipped with air conditioning, straps for standing passengers and two women only carriages. Local commuters are a happy lot and none I heard complain about the bus during rush hour.During usual hours, the DART buses can be only half full. The Kimara route also has fewer street vendors, who are usually seen teeming on the platform at every stop on other lines.Most people I know in Dar Es Salaam said they were benefitting from reliable bus service.Today’s property hunters considered DART Bus access when looking for residential locations, according to a friend of mine who lives in Sinza.“In fact, commuter DART bus service has become one of the main considerations for people to buy the property in Dar Es Salaam. Residents will feel more comfortable to live near DART bus access,” he added.