16 April 2014

Kenya: Nairobi Bus Plan Unstoppable Despite Conniving

Nairobi — The Nairobi County Government says it will not be intimidated by cartels in the matatu industry which are out to undermine plans to introduce a mass transit bus system in the city in June this year.

Roads and Transport County Executive Evans Ondieki told Capital FM News on Wednesday that some Members of the County Assembly were being bribed to lobby against the new buses.

He vowed that plans to introduce the bus system will not be undermined and emphasised that City Hall will go on with the plans which are meant to serve residents.

"It is true these cartels exist; they were meeting in a Nairobi hotel yesterday (Tuesday) morning and the whole purpose is to undermine this process that exists. We cannot be intimidated and they know it. We are going to do the right thing which is god for Nairobi residents. This is an idea whose time is now, if we do not do it, then it will be messier in the future," he said.

He indicated that in the first phase, buses with a capacity of more than 62 passengers will be introduced and with time will phase out 14-seater vehicles which have been largely blamed for traffic jams within the Central Business District (CBD).

"This is something we are doing in good faith and we are doing it for people who are suffering in Nairobi particularly when it rains. I travel a lot using public means and I know what it means, once it rains then the fare is different," he said.

"That is why we are saying that with our buses, whether it is raining or whether there are people or no people, the fares will be the same."

The bus transit system will start with three transport corridors, Athi River town to Kikuyu town, Thika to the Central Business District and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to the CBD.

Special bus tracks will be built from Airport Road junction to Machakos and another one to Kikuyu through Waiyaki Way.

Two more bus routes will terminate at Bomas and Ruaka towns through Langata and Limuru roads respectively.

It will be funded by a European investor at an initial cost of Sh1 billion which will cover the cost of 200 buses which are to be increased to 378 by 2015 and then 2,000 buses.

The projected fixed fares will be Sh30 in all the routes.

The buses will be owned by the Nairobi County government, but the services will be contracted out to a private company through public tendering.

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