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Lack of city public transport system blamed for congestion



The ban on matatus from CBD flopped because the county failed to put in place measures to support smooth implementation, operators said.

On Monday, there was unprecedented congestion at the termini proposed by City Hall. This resulted in heavy traffic jams, compromising travel and business. The 11 termini gazetted by the county on May 12, 2017, were to be used by public service vehicles as picking and drop off points.

The stages proved to be too small despite the county insisting they would accommodate the vehicles. PSV operators had questioned the capacity of the stages. They said there were no streetlights to ensure security nor facilities like toilets for commuters. “You cannot lie to yourself that a stage meant for 100 vehicles can accommodate 2,000. That is is not possible unless someone is calling for chaos,” Matatu Owners Association chairman Simon Kimutai said.

The county was also supposed to introduce vehicles to ferry commuters from the peripheral termini to the CBD. The new termini include Fig Tree A and B for matatus from Waiyaki Way, Kipande Road, Limuru Road, Thika and Limuru Road; Ngara Road terminus for PSVs from Juja Road, Ring Road Ngara and Park Road; and Hakati for vehicles from Mombasa and Lang’ata roads.

Railways terminus was be used by vehicles from Ngong Road, while high-capacity PSVs from upcountry were to be stationed at the Machakos terminus. The county government, in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport, had initiated a plan to introduce a bus rapid transport (BRT) system to help decongest the CBD.

The buses were supposed to be introduced in June but the project failed due to lack of funds and land to for roads expansion.

Transport CS James Macharia said the project requires at least Sh7 million to implement. Last month, the European Union pledged a Sh5 billion grant towards the project.

The high capacity buses are supposed to have dedicated lanes, free of traffic jam, for express movement. Five corridors have already been identified, some passing through the CBD.

The aim was to entice residents to use public transport and leave their cars at home. Lack of a reliable public transport has been cited as one the reasons many residents use private cars to work. The cars have been blamed for congestion in CBD.

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