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Sonko stays firm over ban on matatus entering CBD




Nairobians jostle for space on Ngara footbridge following start of the matatu central business district ban on December 3, 2018. PHOTO | JAMES KARIUKI | NMG 

Commuters using public service vehicles (PSV) should brace themselves for daily trekking to and from the city centre, Governor Mike Sonko told Parliament Monday.

Mr Sonko said the ban imposed on matatus from accessing the central business district (CBD) will continue as the county works to get bigger buses to move passengers to the city centre.

He said the European Union had granted Nairobi County Sh5 billion that will help to decongest the city.

Appearing before Senators, Mr Sonko said there was no turning back on the ban that took effect Monday and asked commuters to support efforts aimed at decongesting the city.

“Going to court will not help. I know Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja has moved to court… but sideshows will not help; he should not be part of the problem we have in Nairobi,” he told the County Public Accounts Committee chaired by Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang.

Mr Sonko was responding to queries raised by Auditor-General Edward Ouko on the county’s books of account for the year to June 2015.

“We must stop the matatu madness, hawking and bodaboda operations in the CBD. The decision to ban PSVs from accessing the city will not be rescinded,” he said when asked by nominated Senator Millicent Omanga.

The county banned PSVs from accessing the CBD in a move that saw passengers alight at designated termini and walked to work.

“We have to restore order in the county and we are supported by the national government where we have lobbied for mass rapid transit. Nairobi is the third best commercial destination in the world,” he said.

Mr Sonko said the decision to kick out matatus arose from lessons learnt during benchmarking tours.

“We have benchmarked in Dubai, Kigali and New York and we can’t waste that money but to implement the best models learnt. We are asking for patience,” he said.

Mr Sonko said the county was in the process of securing big capacity buses from the National Youth Service (NYS) to be used in transporting the disabled and other passengers into the CBD from the termini.

“Many people don’t go to the gym, walking is part of fitness,” he said.