This article analyses the political economy of the Bus Rapid Transport project implemented in Dar es Salaam between 2002 and 2014. It discusses the recent rapid growth of Bus Rapid Transit systems and the vested interests of the actors promoting them as a “win-win” solution to tackle the crisis of public transport in developing countries. The article discredits such “win-win” narratives by showing what some Tanzanian actors stood to lose from the implementation of the Dar es Salaam Rapid Transport and their capacity to resist the project. It analyses tensions over the inclusion of the current public transport workforce, employment destruction, displacement of current paratransit operators, compensation, and the affordability of the new service. The article argues that slow implementation of the transport system was rooted in the tepid commitment to the project by the Tanzanian government. In turn, this lack of political will can be explained by domestic politics, and in particular the government’s attempt to respond to the priorities of the World Bank without alienating local actors, some of whom wield considerable electoral power.
|Publication Type||Journal article|