BRT plan to cost Sh100 billion, experts say


Isuzu East Africa's high-capacity buses specifically designed for the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system in Kenya. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU

An organisation that provides technical transport and planning expertise to governments has estimated that Nairobi will require Sh100 billion to implement the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system to ease traffic congestion in Kenya's capital.

The Institute of Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), which was involved in establishing the BRT system in Dar es Salaam and Johannesburg, has said that having dedicated lanes for public transport as well as the right vehicles would reduce traffic in and out of the city.

Long way to go

According to Christopher Kost, the Africa director of the institute, the demarcation of dedicated bus lanes on the inner lanes of the road is a critical element of high-quality BRT.

However, the government still has a long way to go if it is to implement the project successfully despite a December 12 deadline issued by President Uhuru Kenyatta by which at least two stages of the project must be ready for him to ride one of the buses during Jamhuri Day celebrations.

Additionally, ITDP says systems to collect fare before boarding and stations that have platforms level with the buses which are wheel chair accessible must also be in place.

"We need a dedicated right of way for the buses, not just paint," Mr Kost said during a policy forum on the BRT system held Tuesday.

Waiyaki way

He said that ITDP has been working with the government to ensure the current roads are designed with a view of implementing the BRT system in the next few years.

"Waiyaki way (which is currently being expanded) is a perfect example of a road that is designed to incorporate the BRT. KenHA is aware that there will be BRT and so when the time comes, it will be easy to implement it" Mr Kost said.

He added that it would take about 5 to 10 years to build 86km of BRT.

Last week, the European Union said it had allocated a Sh5 billion grant to go towards implementation of the BRT plan, which was earlier estimated to require Sh9.6 billion to implement.