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Economy

State goes silent on high-capacity buses purchase

Housing and Public Works Principal Secretary Charles Hinga
Housing and Public Works Principal Secretary Charles Hinga. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Nairobi commuters will have to wait longer for the high-capacity buses that have been in the plans of Transport ministry for over a year, the Business Daily has learnt.

Officials directly involved in the plan that was meant to decongest the city and make commuting smoother for residents have gone quiet about the plan months after some buses were branded in South Africa part of Thika Superhighway marked in readiness for the busses.

State Department for Housing and Urban Development PS Charles Hinga who since February has maintained that the buses were still being procured avoided questions on the fate of the project that is now hanging in limbo.

“There is nothing to report on at this stage,” Mr Hinga told the Business Daily when asked about the status of the procurement of the buses.

Sources within Mr Hinga’s department, however, said financial woes and a lack of infrastructure for the buses were behind the delay.

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The decision to import the 64 high-capacity buses from South Africa is said to have angered the local manufacturers who met President Uhuru Kenyatta earlier in the year to protest.

“We don’t even have a place to park them, wash them or the roads to use. It is unclear why there was a rush with the procurement but now they have been lying idle in South Africa because we have not fully paid and they have no operational plan here at home,” the official said.

Kenya hopes to deploy some 300 high-capacity buses in the full plan where the first batch was expected to be received in January 2019 but they did not arrive for an unexplained reason.

The government will use the buses to launch five BRT corridors in Nairobi in a move aimed at reducing traffic congestion in the capital.

Priority corridors include Limuru-Kangemi-CBD-Imara Daima –Athi River to Kitengela road.

Other motorways identified are Rongai, Bomas-CBD-Ruiru-Thika- Kenol-Murang’a road and Tala-Njiru-Dandora–CBD-Ngong road.

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