The Simon Group, a major shareholder in State-owned Shirika la Usafiri Dar es Salaam (UDA), has revealed new plans to introduce 40 new buses to the Dar es Salaam’s transport network. UDA also plans to introduce a new line of public buses just for women as soon as June 2014 as the current system encourages abuse against women.
The company’s Executive Chairman, Mr Robert Kisena, would introduce buses designated specifically for women and would be known as Malaika (angel) and will service all major routes.
“The current environment in our transport system encourages abuse, mostly to women, and Malaika will address that problem,” he said.
Malaika buses will be for women only and no man will be allowed to use them, but women will be free to use the other public buses as they need. Introducing buses for women only will save women from scrambling for a seat where men are always the takers.
Happiness Dennis (34) said that the new system will bring equality amongst gender, as a lot of women tend to stand on the bus while a majority of men get seats, as they are stronger in fighting for a seat.
Mama Evaline (27) said pregnant women are the ones who suffer most on public buses as they cannot scramble for a seat and end up standing all of their journey. This is difficult for the women physically and psychologically.
This plan will empower women when it comes to freedom of movement on public transport in Dar es Salaam. The company has plans to look into special transport for other marginalized groups, like students and disabled people. The people also urge that the company consider expanding throughout the country and not just Dar es Salaam.
Jacqueline is currently upgrading her skills in human rights reporting in Dar es Salaam. Her goal is become an international journalist, focusing on anti-gender violence.