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July 17, 2024

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PUBLIC TRANSPORT, AN IMPROVEMENT, BUT STILL MANY CHALLENGES IN DAKAR DEM DIKK

Dakar Dem Dikk: A New Direction for a Troubled Public Transportation CompanyOver the past few years, the public transport company Dakar Dem Dikk has faced numerous challenges. These include an outdated fleet of buses, long waiting times for customers, high rates of bus immobilization, and financial losses. However, with the appointment of a new Director General, Ousmane Sylla, the company seems to be on a new and positive path. In a recent interview with the newspaper “Le Soleil”, Sylla shared some promising numbers that indicate the company’s progress since he took over in September 2022.In the last three years, Dakar Dem Dikk has seen three different Directors General, which reflects the company’s top management instability. This has been mirrored in the company’s struggles and setbacks. However, with the appointment of Sylla, he expressed his commitment to transforming the company and achieving better results with the help of his team. He proudly stated, “We have increased our revenues by over 45%, reduced our expenses by over 15%, and expanded our fleet by 25%.” These figures are certainly a cause for optimism, but Sylla admits that there is still a lot of work to be done to meet the expectations of the people of Senegal.To improve their services, Sylla announced that Dakar Dem Dikk will soon receive 370 new buses, which will effectively double their fleet. The Director General assured that this will happen before the end of the year, as ongoing training for bus drivers and the preparation of a site to accommodate the new buses are already underway. In the past, the transport company has received a large number of buses, but with this new batch, Sylla aims to implement better management practices. He explains, “We will put in place a system that will enable us to better safeguard our assets and have an efficient and rational use of our resources. We are currently restructuring the company, setting a new path with a dedicated team and the support of the government.”When asked how he has managed to turn around the company, Sylla responded that there is no magic to good management. It requires eliminating losses and waste and setting clear goals for oneself and each team member. He adds, “Once everyone is committed to our approach, success follows.” Sylla, who is also the mayor of Kédougou, firmly believes in this philosophy and has successfully applied it to Dakar Dem Dikk.Apart from improving their operations, the company has also implemented a new strategy for their intercity transport links. Dakar Dem Dikk has restructured their routes and opened new ones, with the aim of connecting all 14 regions of Senegal through three major axes – the northern, southern, and central lines. This will enable each regional capital to be connected to all the neighboring districts. Sylla says that this approach is guided by his belief that “every time a bus is not moving, it’s a loss.” He intends to run these buses as much as possible, rather than waiting for passengers to accumulate. Currently, they have a fleet of about 50 buses that depart for the different regions, but with the new buses on the way, this number will be doubled. Sylla explains, “This will allow us to have more frequent trips, as our current buses are fully booked three to five days in advance. As demand is high, we are determined to increase our revenues and the quality of our services.”In terms of their urban transport services, long wait times are primarily caused by the high rate of bus immobilization. Sylla attributes this to long-term breakdowns, attacks on buses, and vandalism. He laments, “Currently, 50-60% of our buses are out of commission for these reasons.” However, with the ongoing improvements in their operations, Sylla expects this rate to decrease significantly in the near future.In conclusion, the changes and improvements at Dakar Dem Dikk signify a new and more promising direction for the company. With a dedicated and determined team, supported by the government, the company is moving towards achieving their goals of providing better services to the people of Senegal. The significant increase in revenues and expansion of their fleet are indeed impressive numbers but more importantly, they demonstrate that with effective management and commitment, any organization can overcome its difficulties and emerge stronger
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