CBD matatu ban starts Monday



Fig Tree
Fig Tree bus terminus Ngara, Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Matatus will no longer enter the Nairobi city centre starting Monday as City Hall moves to effect a ban aimed at decongesting the capital.

In a notice published in the dailies Thursday, the county government says it has established 11 termini while declaring null and void all others that had been previously allocated despite concerns that the new points lack enough capacity.

Starting December 3, all matatus from Uhuru Highway, Waiyaki Way, Kiambu, Thika Road, Kipande Road and Limuru Road will pick and drop passengers at Fig Tree in Ngara while all high capacity buses from upcountry will be stationed at Machakos Country bus next to Muthurwa market.

PSVs plying Mombasa Road and Lang’ata Road will now drop and pick passengers at Hakati terminus while those from Joggo Road will will now terminate at Muthurwa.

All matatus plying Ngong Road will now be expected to stop at Railways.

“Operators are required to take note that the above changes take effect as from 3rd day of December and all previous gazette notices or letters allocating any other place as picking and dropping points within CBD are hereby revoked and become null and void as from 3rd day of December 2018,” read the notice signed by acting County Secretary Pauline Kahiga.

Vehicles that go past Kenol on the Nyeri-Meru-Nairobi road and all upcountry PSVs accessing the city via Waiyaki Way will now now drop and pick passengers from the Park Road terminus.

The latest push by City Hall comes despite past failed attempts at effecting the ban, with transport operators saying the new points outside the city centre lacked enough space for their vehicles and basic amenities like toilets and lighting.

Matatu Welfare Association (MWA) chairman Simon Mbugua said they lack capacity to hold close to 16,000 public service vehicles travelling to the city.

“The number of matatus within CBD cannot fit into the new stages. Look at Fig Tree, can it take all matatus from Thika Road? The places lack lights and are not well-constructed,” Mr Mbugua told the Business Daily.

The PSV directive also comes just a day after Governor Mike Sonko confirmed that his administration would reduce parking fees for private motorists from the current Sh300 down to Sh200 starting December.

“After consultations with various stakeholders, including ward representatives, we have agreed to slash the parking fees in order not to overburden motorists,” Mr Sonko said.

In April, matatu operators had threatened to ground operations if City Hall banned them from the CBD.

In September last year, Sonko was forced to suspend a similar order following backlash from industry stakeholders.

Nairobi remains one of the cities worst hit by traffic congestion in the world according to 2017 Traffic Index.

The report by Serbia-based website numbeo.com. said that on average Nairobians spend 62.44 minutes in traffic, making it the worst hit in Africa. It followed by Cairo at 51.56 minutes and the South African cities of Pretoria (49.00) and Johannesburg (45.15).


By Kenyan Digest

The Kenyan Digest Team