Government suspends car-free days for two weeks

Seated from left Housing and Urban Development PS Charles Mwaura , Transport CS James Macharia and Public Works PS Paul Maringa with the representatives of the public transport sector at Transcom House, Nairobi /COURTESY
Seated from left Housing and Urban Development PS Charles Mwaura , Transport CS James Macharia and Public Works PS Paul Maringa with the representatives of the public transport sector at Transcom House, Nairobi /COURTESY

The government has suspended the car-free days in the city for another two weeks.

Transport CS James Macharia said the suspension is to enable them to vet hawkers and traders so that they are sure who will be occupying the area provided.

"The vetting will involve the use of biometrics to identify the hawkers taking into consideration the recent terror attack in DusitD2," Macharia told the Star.

The decision came after a meeting between the ministry, Nairobi Senator Jonhson Sakaja, Nairobi County officials and hawkers representatives.

On his Twitter feed, Sakaja said he requested for the deferment to allow for more consultation.

"Held consultations with the Ministry of Transport, The Nairobi Traffic Commander, Nairobi County Govt and hawkers representatives on the proposed “car-free” days. I have advised them to put off the exercise to allow for better planning and proper public participation," he said in a tweet.

On Monday, the government said it plans to close certain roads in the city, barring motorists from accessing them on Wednesdays and Fridays as it plans to roll out the BRT buses.

This was set to start on February 1.

The car-free days plan is part of the project to decongest the city and attract investors.

“The pilot stage is starting off with Moi Avenue, Harambee Avenue, Taifa Road, City Hall and Mama Ngina Street,” Public Works PS Paul Maringa said.

Maringa said there will be dedicated parking at Uhuru Park and Railways Station.

More than 5,000 stalls will be built during the pilot programme.

CS Macharia also said the much-awaited Bus Rapid Transit will be commissioned next month.

He said the first lot - 64 buses - is ready for shipping from South Africa.

The buses have two doors on the right side, driver control safety gadgets and will use electronic fare payment systems.

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