Matatus will no longer be allowed to access the Central Business District (CBD) as from November as the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) moves to de-congest the city.
Appearing before the National Assembly Committee on Administration and National Security on Tuesday September 8, NMS Director General Mohammed Badi revealed plans to de-congest the city are being finalised and will be launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in November.
He told the committee that NMS has been working with the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), adding that bus stations have been built in Ngara and Parklands where all matatus coming from Thika will offload passengers.
Matatus coming from Machakos and Lang’ata will therefore have a stage at the Railway Golf Club where the Kenya National Highways Authority (KenHA) will build an express way.
Badi told MPs that KenHA has already acquired the land and NMS is now just working with the authority to set up the terminus. He added that NMS had initially set its eyes on the land where the Neno Evangelism Centre is built but a court halted the decision forcing it to look for an alternative location.
Badi quipped that NMS is also working with Kenya Railways to ensure that all their lines are operational. To ease traffic on Haile Selassie Avenue through to Jogoo Road, Badi ordered KeNHA to build an expressway from the Kenya Planters Cooperative Union (KPCU) building that will go straight to Jogoo road.
Badi also revealed that much-awaited bus rapid transit (BRT) system will also be operational by the end of this month and will be used to transport passengers from the train stations to their various destinations.
The buses ordered from South Africa have to conform to the KS-372 body-building standards developed by the Kenya Bureau of Standards. In January, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia announced that the first batch of Ksh1.6 billion high-capacity buses will arrive from South Africa in a matter of weeks.
The BRT corridors are to be marked by red lines. Line 1 is to run from James Gichuru Road/Waiyaki Way to JKIA, a distance of 20kms.
Line 2, which is 31kms long, will run from Lang’ata Road to Ngong Road, Juja Road, Komarock Road to Ruiru. It will have major stops at Dandora, Kariobangi and near Gikomba market.
Line 3 will run from Githurai through Thika Road to Moi Avenue in the CBD and terminate at Kenyatta National Hospital. Line 4 will cover 14km from T-Mall to Jogoo Road while Line 5 will cover Outering Road.
Badi will want to avoid a repeat of the dramatic chaos caused by Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko’s decision to ban matatus from accessing the city centre.
Sonko was forced to lift the ban against Public Service Vehicles entering the Central Business District (CBD) after complaints from commuters and the ensuing traffic chaos witnessed on December 3, 2018.
He observed that commuters including the elderly and the sick suffered as a result of the ban and described it as unfortunate.
“Although the directive is well intentioned, many innocent commuters, including senior citizens and those with health challenges requiring emergency medical attention, expectant mothers and children traveling with their parents, all suffered untold inconvenience, and this is regrettable,” he stated at the time.
He acknowledged the necessity to have contingent measures before enforcement of such key decisions and pointed out that he had met with the affected PSV operators with a view to agreeing on an acceptable solution.
The ban on matatus accessing the CBD manifested to a traffic nightmare, with hundreds of thousands of private cars choking the roads as well as an outcry of all sorts by pedestrians over the sheer overcrowding of the designated terminuses at the time.
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