Counties

Nairobi to kick out matatus from city centre next month

matatu

Buses and Matatus at Nairobi Bus Station terminal on September 17, 2021. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

The much-awaited relocation of public service vehicles (PSVs) from the city centre will begin next month, Nairobi Metropolitan Services has said.

First to be affected will be matatus plying Ngong, Lang’ata, and Argwings Kodhek roads and long-distance PSVs from Mt Kenya region in the plan that will see operators terminate journeys outside the Nairobi city centre.

Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Transport and Public Works Director Engineer Michael Ochieng said Green Park, Desai and Park Road termini will be operational before the end of April.

The Sh250 million Green Park terminal is 98 percent complete while the other two, designed for long-distance PSVs from Mt Kenya region that are currently terminating at Tea room, Accra Road, were completed more than a year ago.

The two terminals can accommodate 160 vehicles at any one time and process up to 600 vehicles per hour.

On the other hand, Green Park has a capacity to accommodate between 300 and 350 vehicles at any one time, processing about 1,000 PSVs per hour and up to 20,000 per day.

The bus terminal will serve as pick up and drop off point for matatus from Ngong, Karen, Rongai, Kikuyu, Dagoretti, Kawangware, Kibra, Highrise, Ngumo, Langata, Nairobi West, Makadara, Kaberia, Satellite and Kiserian.

Already, three test runs had been conducted at Green Park with the first test run leading to improvement of exit points and the second one on pickup points as well as exit points, and the last on the terminal’s operations.

Mr Ochieng said adjustments have been made mostly focusing on traffic flow.

The other termini include Fig Tree, Muthurwa terminus, Globe Roundabout terminus, and one at the junction of Bunyala and Workshop Road.

“The change we are making in terms of traffic to decongesting Nairobi has been done in other parts of the world and it must be done in Kenya too. We must take lead in East Africa to show that we are able to manage their public transport,” said Mr Ochieng.

At Green Park the terminus will be digitally controlled with vehicles entering the bus terminal electronically captured with a huge billboard will show the number plate of the vehicle and the route it is plying.

Touting will not be allowed with only three matatus per sacco gaining entry at a time with a maximum of 20 minutes to drop and pick up passengers with traffic marshals from the county and traffic police tasked with ensuring law and order.

“CCTVs installed will also help in not only securing the park but also in enhancing transparency. The time a vehicle arrives at the park and when it exits will be captured electronically. Passengers will be guided by a public address system and huge information boards already mounted at the park,” he said.

Commuters who do not wish to walk to the city centre will be picked by a 66-seater City link shuttle bus with priority given to the special groups with six of such buses to be used in the initial stages and increased according to demand.

The buses are fitted with a wheelchair, trolley ramp, air conditioner, an infotainment system, automatic doors and sturdy grab handles for the standing passengers.

“The user-friendly buses, with the capacity of 36 seated and 30 standing, will be plying Green Park, city centre up to country bus. The fare to be paid is still being negotiated but will be pocket-friendly and trolley services will be provided,” NMS head of Transport Administration Martin Eshiwani said.

In addition, a taxi rank and boda boda picking area off the exit lane adjacent to Crisco Church has been provided. The taxis and boda bodas are expected to use the same exit lane to leave terminus as the PSVs.

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