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Nairobians walk to matatu-free city centre




Pedestrians walk to town from Ngara. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NMG 

Thousands of Nairobians were forced to walk as Governor Mike Sonko made good his decision to order all matatus from the city centre.

While the city centre remained clear of all matatus, thousands of people walked into town, stranded on how to get to their places of work outside the city centre.

Governor Sonko banned all public transport vehicles from accessing the city centre, designating 11 termini to accommodate the thousands of matatus through a gazette notice on Thursday.

Matatus from Ongata Rongai however dropped passengers at the Agip stage next to Kenyatta University town campus, under the keen eye of traffic police who ensured they took less than three minutes.

Nairobi City County traffic marshals with clubs and police with guns and batons have been manning areas around Muthurwa, Murang’a Road Fig Tree A, Desai Road, Ngara Road, Hakati, Railways and Central Bus Station.

“Stop! Do not drive beyond this point,” they backed orders at the disgruntled matatu crew to enforce the ban that was took effect as early as 4:30 am.

Accra Road

Accra Road, where Embassava buses usually pick up and drop passengers. Its today deserted after Nairobi County banned matatus from accessing the CBD. PHOTO | CHARLES WASONGA | NMG

Matatu operators who had vowed to defy the order remained out of the city, raising optimism that the move that had failed on three attempts may finally bear fruit.

They raised concerns that the new termini lacked basic amenities like toilets and lighting and could not accommodate the more than 16,000 public transport vehicles.

A spot check at the Kencom stage, which holds buses from Ngong Road revealed a deserted placed with scores of Nairobians stranded.

Private motorists were having a field day ferrying them to the areas around Upper Hill and Kenyatta.

Businesses at the previous stages were however at a loss, with thousands of their customers kept away due to the relocation of the matatu termini.

The town centre remained clear during the early hours of the day, but concerns remain on how the order will be effected in the evening.

Clamped Mololine shuttles at Odeon bus stop.

Clamped Mololine shuttles at Odeon bus stop. PHOTO | AGEWA MAGUT | NMG