Transforming Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit Agency to deliver a world class public transport system


Dar es Salaam is Tanzania’s commercial centre and largest city. It is also one of the fastest growing cities in Africa, with a projected population of over 10 million people by 2030. The Government of Tanzania has adopted a bold public transport solution to tackle acute urban congestion problems and promote the long-term sustainable growth of the metropolitan region. 

As part of this approach, the Government, with financial support from the World Bank and the African Development Bank, is implementing a programme for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on six major road corridors.  This flagship project, along with several other transformative initiatives, has won Dar es Salaam the 2018 Sustainable Transport Award, the first African city to win this prestigious award in its thirteen-year history.  

Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit Agency (DART) was set up in 2007 to lead the key planning, design, implementation and operational tasks concerning the BRT. Until recently, DART has focused on planning and delivery of infrastructure for the first BRT corridor on Morogoro Road. However, since May 2016, the Agency has been managing a contract for operational bus services in a corridor which is already carrying up to 200,000 passengers a day. This presents major challenges and requires significant change in the Agency’s mandate, functions, organisational structure, internal processes and corporate culture in order to meet passenger needs, secure successful day-to-day operations and achieve financial sustainability.  


With funding from the World Bank, Atkins Acuity, working through Atkins, was appointed to review, identify gaps and suggest changes to DART’s governance arrangements to adapt to the new circumstances, strengthening its capacity to secure efficient operation and management of the BRT system whilst driving future expansion of additional corridors. 

The project was delivered by Acuity experts from UK, Singapore and Dubai, in partnership with EY Tanzania, one of several successful partnerships between Acuity and EY in Africa. On the ground presence and close collaboration with DART was supported by active participation of senior Agency management and staff in developing new arrangements appropriate to their needs and circumstances. 


Since its creation, DART has made excellent progress to date in getting the first BRT corridor into public service.  However, it is critical that its institutional arrangements are adapted to reflect new challenges and functions appropriate to bus operations.  The DART Agency needs to evolve rapidly from a planner of infrastructure to a manager of a customer-facing and commercial business. This requires a change in organisational mind-set, culture and leadership as well as structure.

Acuity’s review proposes a new organisational structure for DART, linked to key milestones in infrastructure and operational delivery, as well as changes to headcount, financial management, ICT and business processes. Specifically, it:

  • Defines the requirements for DART Agency in terms of governance, business and financial management, contract management, operations, system availability and business development;
  • Proposes an appropriate operating model for the DART Agency to manage the different strands of its business, raise additional revenue sources, and consider the scope of culture change;
  • Identifies the main business and financial functions, capacity and risk management mechanisms required to achieve fiscal sustainability over the project life; and 
  • Includes an implementation plan for the short, medium and long-terms, to be funded by the Government and targeted technical assistance from World Bank and other donor agencies.

The review placed great emphasis on stakeholder engagement and the development of close working relationships with DART and other organisations. This ultimately enabled the development of practical advice on restructuring and a roadmap for implementation.

Victor F Ndonne, Ag. chief executive of the Dar Rapid Transport Agency, said: “Through this recommendable work, Atkins and EY Tanzania have demonstrated their capacity as among the best global consulting firms that can deliver useful outputs in areas related with transport planning and infrastructure management. With your study being undertaken during a successful implementation of Phase One of BRT infrastructure supported by the World Bank and the subsequent winning of the 2018 Sustainable Transport award, there is a clear indication that your recommendations shall take us further steps in the delivery of public transport services.”


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