Daladalas of Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam’s three million residents rely heavily on daladalas (16-36 passenger minibuses) for transportation. Forty-three percent of trips are made by public transit, and of these, ninety-eight percent are by minibus. The second-highest transport mode is walking, which accounts for forty-two percent of trips.

Since the government deregulated urban transportation in 1983, thousands of used vehicles from Japan (mostly Toyota Hiaces, Toyota Coasters, and Mitsubishi Rosas) have entered the city via ship. There are about 7,000 daladalas operating in the city, serving various color-coded routes that range in length between 3 and 30 km. As of 2009, nearly sixty percent of daladalas were more than twenty years old.

Fares range between 250 and 350 Tanzanian Shillings (17 to 24 cents), depending on distance. Though these low fares result in little revenue for operators (the average daladala brings in a daily revenue of about $24), transport costs still account for about 17% of household expenses.

In my month in Tanzania, I took 32 trips on daladalas. The majority of these rides were hot, crowded, and slow. At least the horrendous traffic meant there were plenty of opportunities to buy cold water from the numerous vendors whistling and shouting “Majimajimajimaji!”

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