Isuzu’s plan to make BRT buses still on course

Isuzu East Africa managing director Rita
Isuzu East Africa managing director Rita Kavashe. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Isuzu East Africa will venture into mass production of high capacity buses once the government concludes ongoing consultations on Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) standards, the latest indication that the plan to have separate bus lanes is still on course.

The firm’s managing director Rita Kavashe said it was still working on developing a 105-capacity prototype bus in consultation with National Transport and Safety Authority(NTSA) engineers in order to conform to international standards.

“The prototype bus with a sitting capacity for 45 and 55 standing passengers passed mechanical and safety tests at the Motor Vehicle Inspection Unit. Our engineers also considered BRT specifications currently being used in other countries before coming up with this prototype,” she said yesterday.

The draft policy governing BRT operations, under a technical committee formed by Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs), is being subjected to nationwide public participation that began on September 30 and will end on October 30.

Isuzu’s Engineering, Product Planning and Quality General Manager Zack Karenge expressed optimism on the uptake of BRT buses saying operators were actively involved in the BRT standard formulation process.

The local car assembly industry got a major boost this year after the government reversed plans to source 50 buses from South Africa, saying local firms had capacity to manufacture the vehicles.

Stakeholders, including bus body builders, said local sourcing will boost manufacturing, create jobs and earn the government revenue.

Isuzu Finance Director Charles Kariuki said experienced technical personnel were available to maintain the buses and offer after sale services, making it a viable and sustainable investment.