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November 21, 2018

Saccos cry foul as city centre decongestion plan hits a snag

Heavy traffic jam on Uhuru Highway in Nairobi/FILE
Heavy traffic jam on Uhuru Highway in Nairobi/FILE

City Hall’s order to have only two PSVs per sacco allowed in the CBD at any hour did not kick off yesterday.

In an attempt to decongest the CBD, City Hall on Sunday issued the order through the Inspectorate department.

Having two PSVs per sacco at the designated pick-up and drop-off points is meant to improve traffic flow within the city centre. A spot check by the Star showed it was business as usual. 

Matatu Welfare Association chairman Dickson Mbugua said it is necessary to introduce new measures to accompany the order. 

He said they are giving matatu operators and saccos time to implement the directive.

“We have more than 2,000 PSVs moving in and out of the city centre. Allowing two PSVs per sacco will be a tough call,” Mbugua said.

The Inspecorate on Monday met 40 sacco managers to discuss the new order.

Mbugua said, “We will identify all the illegal pick-up and drop-off points and have them removed.”

The undesignated pick-up and drop-off points were highlighted as a major contribution towards the congestion. 

Tom Mboya Street, Ronald Ngala, Mfangano and Accra roads have the most irregular pick-up and 

drop-off points.

The first gazette was made on May 19, 2000 and the most recent one being on May 26, 2017.

“We are going to countercheck the data in the gazette then rule out the illegal pick-up and drop-off points within the city centre,” Mbugua said. 

The second operation will include systematically implementing the ban where the two PSV per Sacco will only be allowed in CBD at an interval of only one hour.

“The rest of the matatus will be stationed at the identified  holding grounds once this phase is implemented,” Mbugua said.

The operations will be done by partnership od the Matatu Saccos and City Hall. 

Attempts to decongest the CBD have failed since last year in September when Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko banned matatus from accessing the CBD.

Since then the ban has been suspended twice,due to logistical issues as pointed out earlier by City Hall.

Various matatu termini had been outlined by Sonko  which would be used as holding grounds once the ban is implemented.

Muranga Road Fig tree A, Fig tree B, Desai road , Park road , Ngara road, Hakati, Railway, Machakos country bus and Central Bus Station were some of the termini outlined.

Nairobi Transport executive Mohamed Dagane had previously said that rehabilitation works are on going in some of the matatu termini. 

He also 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,” Dagane said.

Nairobi is one of the world’s most congested cities.

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