CONCERNED

Matatu investors fear BRT will throw them out of business

If implemented, Nairobi will be c the eighth in Africa to adopt the system in the past decade

In Summary

• The government is planning to have circular routes for buses for commuters who will not be able to walk from the new stage to CBD

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

Traffic within Nairobi Koja Area at mid day on September 26
Traffic within Nairobi Koja Area at mid day on September 26
Image: MERCY MUMO

The plan to transform the transport system in Nairobi has brought anxiety among matatu investors, saying that they see darkness at the end of the tunnel.

They voiced their concerns at the stakeholder forum held over the weekend, pleading with the government not to take over the industry through the introduction Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). 

“Members of the public will obviously prefer using the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) as soon as they are implemented because of the convenience that it will bring. We feel like the government is largely competing with us,'' Evans Somba, LA Trans Sacco chairman said.

They also argued that they will lose hundreds of millions they spent in acquiring permanent spaces for picking and dropping passengers within the CBD.

They added that transparency was lacking in the whole process ahead of the planned relocation later this year. 

“We will not have a problem moving out of town. personally, my Sacco (luminous) does not have a spot where I could pick my passengers in town because of the expense and a lot of corruption involved within,'' a Ngong Sacco Matatu official who asked for anonymity said. 

He added that he was afraid there will be a lot of prejudice and fights while placing them in the new stages.

Even so, deputy director in charge of transport services at the Nairobi Metropolitan Services John Muya assured them that the government will not take over the matatu industry, adding they instead want the investors to be partakers of the BRT.

Early this month, Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) director-general Mohammed Badi disclosed that all Public Service Vehicles (PSV) will be barred from the Central Business District (CBD) beginning November to decongest the city.

Drop-off terminals where commuters coming to CBD via Thika Superhighway has already been set up in Ngara and Parklands.

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

Commuters using Waiyaki Way will terminate their journeys at Globe roundabout while those using Jogoo Road and Ladhies Road will be alighting and boarding their matatus at Muthurwa.

Muya added that the government is planning to have circular routes for buses for commuters who will not be able to walk from the new stages to CBD

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