EASING MOVEMENT

Bus Rapid Transit to be completed next year — Namata

Line 5 funding has been obtained from Korea Exim Bank

In Summary
  • "We should have it completed by February and March next year," Namata CEO Francis Gitau said in his office.
  • Namata has gazetted five BRT lines which are in different phases of development.
The ongoing construction of Bus Rapid Transit by Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority at Kasarani main depot along Thika Road, Nairobi on March 26.
DECONGESTION: The ongoing construction of Bus Rapid Transit by Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority at Kasarani main depot along Thika Road, Nairobi on March 26.
Image: DOUGLAS OKIDDY

The Bus Rapid Transit project will be completed by next year.

Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority CEO Francis Gitau said on Thursday that securing the corridor was on course.

"We should have it completed by February and March next year," Gitau said in his office.

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

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

Namata has gazetted five BRT lines which are in different phases of development.

The feasibility study for Line 1, which is called Ndovu, is under review while Line 2, called Simba, is under construction.

"Detailed design for Line 3 has been submitted while finance is being sought for Line 4," Gitau said.

He said funding for Line 5 has been obtained from Korea Exim Bank.

On February 26, 2019, Transport CS James Macharia gazetted transport corridors in the city.

BRT Line 1 runs from Limuru-Kangemi-CBD-Imara Daima-Athi River and Kitengela.

Line 2 runs from Rongai-Bomas-Langata Road-CBD-Ruiru-Thika and Kenol.

Line 3, called Chui, runs from Tala-Njiru-Dandora (Juja Road)-CBD-Show Ground (Ngong Road) and Ngong.

Line 4, which is called Kifaru, is composed of East and West.

The East one runs from Mama Lucy Hospital-Donholm (Jogoo Road)-CBD.

The West one runs from CBD- T Mall-Bomas-Karen and Kikuyu.

BRT Line 5, which is also called Nyati, traverses Ridgeways (Kiambu Road)-Balozi (Allsops) and Imara Daima.

Macharia also gazetted commuter rail networks which include Nairobi-Limuru town, Nairobi-Ngong town, Nairobi-Kenol, Muranga, Nairobi-Kiambu town, Nairobi-Ruai town, Nairobi-JKIA and Nairobi-Konza.

Gitau said BRT will not only decongest the city but also help cut thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

He revealed that the BRT is set to have right of way, coloured pavement, dedicated BRT lane, flyovers, level station, prepaid fare collection, footbridges, sidewalk, pedestrian crossing and facilities for the disabled.

Others are parking lots, gas stations, maintenance centres, control centers, vehicle enforcement and bus priority signals.

Gitai said once the project is complete, it will be integrated with commuter trains.  

"Flyovers are being provided over most congested intersections," he said.

Flyovers are set to be provided in Race Course Road, Ring Road Ngara, Quarry road, Juja Road and Pangani footbridge.

Gitau said a fleet of 110 electric buses will be provided.

Such buses will be 18 meters articulated, with zero emissions in line with Kenya's national climate change action plan and with a capacity to carry 140 passengers.

BRT project in Nairobi's Kasarani area has started to take shape with the administration block coming up.

Park and ride facilities with 130 spaces have also taken shape.

Those with personal cars will park them before getting into BRT buses.

Demarcation of the corridor and the establishment of a bus park is underway.

Gitau said this will be a reliable mode of commuter transport planned to decongest the central business district, ease transport woes, reduce travel time as well as reduce air pollution.

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

A Chinese firm called Stecol Corporation secured the Sh5.6 billion contract to construct special lanes for high-capacity buses in July.

The buses are to operate between Thika Superhighway, Nairobi city centre and Kenyatta National Hospital.

At Kasarani, the maintenance block that can accommodate 10 BRT buses at the same time is expected to be completed in eight months.

Platforms for picking and dropping passengers are also at an advanced stage of construction.

There are two access points into the Kasarani depot.

Park and ride facilities with 130 spaces have also taken shape.

Gitau said BRT must conserve fuel, be safe and accessible.

(Edited by Bilha Makokha)