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December 15, 2018

Sonko bows to pressure, suspends Matatu CBD ban

Some of the matatus along Moi Avenue on Tuesday morning. /MAUREEN KINYANJUI
Some of the matatus along Moi Avenue on Tuesday morning. /MAUREEN KINYANJUI

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has suspended the ban on matatus from entering the CBD with immediate effect.

“I have noted with deep concern the plight of city residents as a result of the ban, and hereby announce that the full implementation of this directive has been suspended with immediate effect,” Sonko said in a statement on Tuesday.

He said this will give room for more consultation with the affected parties in order to find a permanent solution.

Sonko said the ban was part of measures to decongest the city centre, and followed months of planning as well as public and stakeholder participation.

"Although the directive is well-intentioned, many innocent commuters, including senior citizens and those with health challenges requiring emergency medical attention, expectant mothers and children travelling with their parents, all suffered untold inconvenience, and this is regrettable," Sonko said.

On Monday, thousands of commuters walked for long distances to their workplaces after the county government effected the gazette notice banning matatus from the CBD.

Some walked for as long as five kilometres.

See: [VIDEO] Commuters stranded as CBD matatu ban takes effect

The ban led to huge traffic jams as PSVs scrambled for the limited space in the designated termini.

As early as 5 am, security officers had been deployed to strategic spots to block matatus from accessing the city centre.

Sonko noted that choking traffic gridlocks have negatively affected all businesses in the county.

"As a trustee of the Executive Power in Nairobi City County Government, I wish to reassure all commuters of the best interests of my County Government to promote the best, most sustainable and most economical means of transport into, and out of Nairobi," Sonko said.

These gridlocks have the impact of choking our socio-economic growth

" I have met this morning with the affected PSV operators with a view to agreeing on an acceptable solution that has less negative implication on all affected. During the coming days, I will continue to hold discussions with affected parties to find a way forward," he added.

The effects of the ban on matatus from the CBD stretched into the night on Monday as private vehicle owners found themselves in a gridlock.

As the 'walkathon' by commuters who depend on PSVs continued, private car owners didn't have it any easier.

Traffic jams stretching several hundreds of metres were evident on major highways in the city as late as 9.30pm.

Read: Long walk, chaos, traffic jams as matatu ban takes effect

Also read: Court declines to suspend order of ban on matatus in CBD

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