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Nairobi County orders matatus out of CBD from Sept 20

Traffic in Nairobi. The number of foreign-registered vehicles has been on the rise. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Traffic in Nairobi. Public service vehicles will be barred from accessing the Nairobi central business district (CBD) from next Wednesday.. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Public service vehicles will be barred from accessing the Nairobi central business district (CBD) from next Wednesday.

The move is Nairobi City County government's latest attempt to address the matatu menace and decongest the city.

From September 30, more than 30,000 vehicles will not access the CBD.

All routes accessing the city centre from Waiyaki Way-Uhuru Highway, Kipande Road and Limuru will terminate at Muranga Road (Fig Tree) terminus A, according to a notice by the county government issued on Friday.

Routes accessing CBD from Thika Road and Kiambu Road up to and including Ruiru will terminate at Muranga Road (Fig Tree) Terminus B.

Upcountry vehicles

The notice directs that vehicles that go past Kenol on the Nyeri-Meru-Nairobi Road and all upcountry vehicles on Uhuru Highway will terminate at Park Road terminus.

All vehicles using Juja Road, Ring Road Ngala and Park Road to access CBD will terminate at Ngara Road Terminus.

Urban and peri-urban routes from Mombasa Road-Langata will terminate at Hakati while those from Ngong Road will terminate at Railways Station. Vehicles from Jogoo Road will terminate at Muthurwa.

High capacity vehicles from upcountry will terminate at the Machakos Country Bus station.

Speaking to the Business Daily, the county's chief officer for roads and transport, Fredrick Karanja, said Friday's notice was to enforce a Kenya Gazette notice issued on May 12 that gave public service vehicles a grace period before the ban could take effect.

“We have all realised we can not keep living like this, something must be done to decongest this city by moving these vehicles to public termini,”said Eng Karanja.

Mr Karanja said they have modified and rehabilitated termini and were now ready for use.

He said these would not be parking bays as vehicles would have not more that 40 minutes before they exit, noting that congestion is caused by idle vehicles waiting for long passengers during off-peak times.

Crossing the CBD

The county official said some vehicles would be operating in diametric routes - moving from one part of the city and crisscrossing through the CBD and will only stop for a maximum of five minutes.

“We will have someone leaving Kawangware to Dandora, or Ruiru to Kenyatta not necessarily stopping in the CBD. However, they will be terminating at the Central Bus Station,” said Mr Karanja.

The mass transit buses will now act on the circular routes by connecting all termini to the CBD and Upper Hill.

Meanwhile, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has also revoked a gazette notice and letters allocating pick-up and drop-off area in the city centre.

The drop-pick up points that have been revoked include all the streets and link roads ranging from Tom Mboya, Accra, Ronald Ngala, Moi Avenue among others.

"I have revoked gazette notice/letter allocating any other place as picking and dropping area in town from September 20,"said the Kenya Gazette notice signed by the acting county secretary, Leboo ole Morintat.

Mr Leboo has also directed police and the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to enforce the order from next Wednesday.

"Maximum cooperation is expected from all PSV operators and compliance to avoid inconvenience and other consequences thereof," he said.

Failed policy

A similar policy was attempted after the construction of the Muthurwa bus terminus in 2007 but the plan collapsed after former Makadara MP, now the Nairobi Governor, moved to court to challenge the directive.

Former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero also made an attempt to implement the ban but matatu operators threatened to block all entry and exit points to the city from Ngong Road, Thika Highway, Ongata Rongai, Eastlands and Mombasa Road forcing the administration to shelve it.

At the time, there were only five gazetted termini in the city namely Khoja (Old Nation), Muthurwa, Bus Station, Railways, Machakos Country Bus and Hakati.

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