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Editorials

EDITORIAL: Make rapid bus service work

The long-awaited shift to rapid mass transit in Nairobi is projected to ease traffic congestion and the chaos commuters are subjected to on city roads.
The long-awaited shift to rapid mass transit in Nairobi is projected to ease traffic congestion and the chaos commuters are subjected to on city roads. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The long-awaited shift to rapid mass transit in Nairobi is projected to ease traffic congestion and the chaos commuters are subjected to on city roads.

That the Chinese firm Stecol Corporation has now secured the Sh5.6 billion deal to start construction of special lanes for high-capacity buses through the Nairobi city centre and Thika highway from next month is welcome.

The Transport ministry has had false starts on the bus rapid transit (BRT) project, shelving plans to import high-capacity buses due to protests from local manufacturers, financial woes and a lack of infrastructure.

Kenya can learn from neighbouring Tanzania that successfully rolled out its BRT services in 2016 in the commercial hub Dar es Salaam, easing traffic congestion. Dar built the infrastructure, which includes special lanes, boarding stations and footbridges, before deploying the BRT buses.

Once fully operational, the government needs to ensure that illegal use of the dedicated bus lanes by other motorists is punished and exorbitant fares don't force commuters to shun the buses.

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