DE-CONGESTING NAIROBI

Hope as State finally floats tender for Bus Rapid Transport

Construction of terminals and walk ways to take 18 months

In Summary

'The bidders are therefore expected to have experience and capability in both design and construction of BRT facilities and are encouraged to associate as construction firms and consultancy firms to enhance their capabilities in this area'

A demarcated lane reserved for Bus Rapid Transport along Thika Road
ALL SET TO START: A demarcated lane reserved for Bus Rapid Transport along Thika Road
Image: COURTESY

 

The much-awaited Nairobi Bus Rapid Transport has inched closer to realisation after the government floated its tender on Thursday.

The Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (Namata) said the government intends to improve the infrastructure of the Thika Superhighway to accommodate the project.

“The improvement will be undertaken as a design and build contract with a construction period of 18 months,” the tender notice says.

The project will be carried out in two phases under one contract. The first section will be between Clayworks to the Nairobi CBD while the second phase will start from Clayworks to Ruiru. 

Namata says it expects the successful bidder to sign a fixed contract.

“The bidders are therefore expected to have experience and capability in both design and construction of BRT facilities and are encouraged to associate as construction firms and consultancy firms to enhance their capabilities in this area.”

The authority said a mandatory pre-bid meeting will be held on December 10.

ALl bids must be accompanied by security comprising an unconditional bank guarantee amounting to Sh10 million from a reputable bank.

The bids have to be received on or before December 19.

In June, Namata CEO Francis Gitau told the Star the piloting phase of the project will be rolled out between September and December.

The government is betting on the project to provide reliable commuter transport.

Authorities say the project will decongest the central business district, ease transport woes, reducing travel time and air pollution.

"We are on course for piloting on Thika Road. The infrastructure is being done, especially the demarcation of the corridor and the establishment of a bus park," Gitau said.

The authority was established by President Uhuru Kenyatta on February 9, 2017. It covers Nairobi, Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos and Murang’a counties. 

It is mandated to establish an integrated, efficient, effective and sustainable public transport system.

The Institute of Transportation and Development Policy says the project will need Sh100 billion to be fully operational.

Traffic snarl-ups in the Nairobi metropolis is estimated to cost the country Sh2 billion annually.

Gitau said five corridors have been identified to decongest Nairobi roads. The corridors are to be marked in red lines.

Line 1 is to run from the James Gichuru Road and Waiyaki Way junction to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, a distance of 20km.

The 31-km line 2 will run from Lang’ata Road to Ngong Road, Juja Road, Komarock Road to Ruiru with major stops at Dandora, Kariobangi and the Gikomba Market. 

Line 3 will run from Githurai through Thika Road to Moi Avenue in the CBD, terminating at Kenyatta National Hospital. 

Gitau said the 64 buses ordered from South Africa have to conform to the body-building standards (KS-372) developed by the Kenya Bureau of Standards.

He said they were working on streams.

"The first workstream is on operations and infrastructure while the second is on the formation of bus operating company and transport service contracts." 

The transport service contracts stream defines the service quality standards based on reliability, affordability and safety.

Bus stations were being developed.

"The target stations will be in Kasarani and around Tom Mboya Street so that we have a direct service," Gitau said.

He said the buses will be imported from South Africa because there are no buses locally that meet the standards.

"If we are talking about BRT, then the quality of buses must meet standards.....When you think about lifespan, the buses should be on the roads for between 10 and 15 years." 

The buses must be easy to access by children, the elderly, and people with disability. They must be fitted with an intelligent transport system as well as a technology that allows for cashless systems. 

The final workstream is transition and communication.

Gitau said massive campaigns will be mounted so that the project is accepted by everybody.

"Once the task force agrees with everything that has been decided, it will go to the board of Namata for approval."

The board is chaired by Transport CS James Macharia with Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko as the vice-chairman. Other board members are governors of Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos and Murang’a governors.

The project will be run by the private sector after the government establishes regulations and standards.

Eleven units of commuter railways will be imported to complement BRT.

Gitau said the Kasarani station may require a ramp - a bridge - on which the buses will turn for their city-bound trips.

He said Tom Mboya will be a good drop-off point. "There will be adequate walkways for pedestrians."  

 

edited by peter obuya