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September 21, 2018

Unpaid builders, no space outside city centre stall decongestion plan

Transport executive Mohamed Dagane yesterday said rehabilitation works in matatu termini have stalled /FILE
Transport executive Mohamed Dagane yesterday said rehabilitation works in matatu termini have stalled /FILE
Delayed payment to contractors and limited spaces for matatus outside the CBD has derailed the Nairobi decongestion plan.
Transport executive Mohamed Dagane yesterday said rehabilitation works in matatu termini have stalled because of non-payment.
“The contractors stopped the works but earlier this month we paid them Sh760 million,” Dagane said.
“Rehabilitation work is going on at Railways bus station and Muthurwa.”
The executive said the county government is seeking further policies to add on to the suspended matatu ban. There are limited spaces for matatus outside the CBD.
“We postponed the ban because the current bus termini cannot accommodate all the matatus within the city. Some expansion might be required,” Dagane said.
He said decongesting Nairobi is also part of the County Regeneration Team.
“We had plans to use some NYS buses to ferry commuters to and from the matatu termini to the CBD. But consultation with stakeholders is still ongoing.”
Hakati bus station, Railways bus station and Machakos country bus are some of those proposed to be used after the ban is effected.
In the move to decongest the town, Nairobi governor Mike Sonko last September banned matatus from accessing the CBD.
But the ban has been suspended twice, the latest in April. Roads chief officer Fredrick Karanja said the plan was pushed to a later due to logistical issues. “We had to look into proper measures to ensure all termini would be conducive for both matatus and commuters in terms of security and capacity,” Dagane said.
Dagane said the county will recruit 1,000 traffic marshals to enforce traffic regulations.
“Once the ban is effective the marshals will be strategically placed to the main entries of the CBD and in the bus terminals. They will ensure there is free flow of matatus and that matatus use the right routes.”
In October last year, matatu owners placed marshals in designated stages within the CBD to ensure members observed regulations.
Since then, the marshals have been in charge of ensuring order at pick-up and drop-off points.
Matatus Owners Association chairman Simon Kimutai told the governor to provide alternative pick-up and drop-off points for PSVs before kicking the vehicles out of the city centre.
In August last year, matatu owners told the governor to reduce the number of PSVs with access to the CBD. Kimutai said Evans Kidero’s administration failed to organise transport and that more vehicles were licensed, despite the limited space.
Kimutai added the sector loses about Sh30 million in bribes to city officials and traffic police officers.
“We want you to streamline the industry by doing away with bureaucracy, reining in on corrupt county inspectorate officers and allocating more holding and picking points in the city,” he said.
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