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Sonko suspends matatu ban in Nairobi city centre

Walk to work
Nairobians walk to work on Monday after the county government banned matatus from accessing the city centre. PHOTO | NMG 

Matatus started entering Nairobi city centre starting Tuesday as City Hall lifted a ban that took effect on Monday, which had been aimed at decongesting the capital.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko said Tuesday the lifting of the ban was informed by the suffering of matatu operators, commuters, employers and traders that was witnessed on Monday.

He announced the suspension of Gazette Notice 4479 of May 12, 2017 at 5.42am on Facebook Live from City Hall, the headquarters of Nairobi City County.

"I have noted with concern the plight of Nairobi residents as a result of the ban and hereby announce that the full implementation of the ban has been suspended," said Mr Sonko.

“This is to facilitate further consultation with all affected parties, in order to find a lasting solution to the problem of vehicular congestion”.

The governor, who on Monday told MPs that "there is no turning back" on the ban, appeared to regret his decision to effect the gazette notice without putting in place logistics, alternatives and the requisite amenities.

"Although the directive is well intentioned, many innocent commuters, including senior citizens and those with health challenges requiring emergency medical attention, expectant mothers and children traveling with their parents, all suffered untold inconvenience, and this is regrettable," he said.

The city county boss said he made the decision after meeting with the leaders of matatu associations, which opposed the ban from the word go.

Traffic jams

But while backed down, he said he was still keen to confront what he termed as the “monster of  traffic jams” in Nairobi.

“The time to address this monster is now. We cannot procrastinate. We cannot lose any more time. We cannot pretend to be moving forward when every day, we are stuck in traffic jams for hours,” he said.

The ban had seen all matatus from Uhuru Highway, Waiyaki Way, Kiambu, Thika Road, Kipande Road and Limuru Road pick and drop passengers at Fig Tree in Ngara.

PSVs plying Mombasa Road and Lang’ata Road were dropping and picking passengers at Hakati terminus while those from Jogoo Road were terminating at Muthurwa.

All matatus plying Ngong Road were stopping at Railways.

Vehicles that go past Kenol on the Nyeri-Meru-Nairobi road and all upcountry PSVs accessing the city via Waiyaki Way were dropping and pick passengers from the Park Road terminus.

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