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Counties

Badi to kick out matatus from CBD

A policeman controls traffic on Kenyatta Avenue
A policeman controls traffic on Kenyatta Avenue, Nairobi on July 8. If the NMS plan pans out, matatus will not access the city centre from November. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG 

Matatus will not be allowed to access the city centre from November as the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Director General Mohammed Badi moves to decongest the city.

Mr Badi announced the looming kick out when he appeared before the National Assembly Committee on Administration and National Security. The plans, he said, are being finalised and will be launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in November.

The NMS boss told the Paul Koinange-led committee that they have already set a terminal in Ngara and another in Parklands where all commuters coming into the central business district (CBD) via Thika Road will alight.

Matatus coming through Machakos and Lang’ata roads will terminate their journeys at a terminal to be built at Railway Golf land off Uhuru Highway.

Mr Badi told MPs the land has already been acquired and construction work started.

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Initially, NMS had targeted the land where Neno Evangelism church is built but a court process forced it to look for an alternative.

For matatus currently accessing the CBD through Haile Selassie Way, NMS said they will drop commuters at the Muthurwa terminal. Mr Badi said there will also be an express way starting near Kenya Planters Cooperative Union building and terminate at Jogoo Road.

“We are still in the process of acquiring other lands that we will use as matatus stages to free up the city,” Mr Badi said of the remaining road arteries into the CBD.

“Before December, we will be able to keep all matatus out of the CBD,” Mr Badi told the committee.

Besides the termini, he said NMS is also working with Kenya Railways to ensure that all their lines are operational to reduce pressure on roads.

Estimates by Kenya National Highways Authority indicate that Nairobi is losing Sh50 million daily to traffic jams.

A report by traffic index indicate that Nairobi residents on average spend at least 62.44 minutes in traffic jams everyday.

In 2018, Nairobi was ranked as the ninth city in the world with the worst traffic gridlocks.

Mr Badi said that the much- awaited bus rapid transit buses will also be operational by the end of this month.

In January, Transport CS James Macharia announced that the first batch of Sh1.6 billion high capacity buses will arrive from South Africa in a matter of a few weeks.

The Nairobi County has been at loggerheads with players in the transport business on how the city should be decongested.

Governor Mike Sonko’s attempt to kick them out of the city centre in 2018 flopped after matatu operators secured court orders barring the move.

Should Mr Badi’s plans pan out, he will have succeeded in the chartered path where both Evans Kidero and his predecessor Sonko have failed.

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