Benefits of BRT far outweigh negative impacts— transport agency

NaMATA says the project will address congestion, curb green house gas emissions

In Summary
  • Traffic snarl-ups in the Nairobi metropolis are estimated to cost the country Sh2 billion annually.
  • Currently Matatu operators utilise 14, 33 and 51-seater vehicles along nearly 70 routes licensed by National Transport and Safety Authority.
A sample of NAMATA BRT bus that will be used along Thika road. Image: PS CHARLES HINGA MWAURA
A sample of NAMATA BRT bus that will be used along Thika road. Image: PS CHARLES HINGA MWAURA

Line 3 of the Bus Rapid Transit is set to have environmental and socioeconomic impacts, a study has shown.

The environmental and social impact assessment of the line shows the project will impact many.

Some of the negative impacts of the project include loss of property and land, loss of vegetation, deterioration of ambient air quality, risk of road accidents, traffic jams and solid waste generation.

The Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority says more than 3,000 people are set to be impacted by the project.

“Given its presence in a heavily built-up urban area, impacts on the environment cannot be avoided and impacts on the socio-economic component cannot be neglected,” part of the ESIA report says.

The broad objective of the ESIA is to identify potential environment and social impacts of the project, and formulate recommendations to ensure the proposed development takes into consideration appropriate measures, to mitigate/minimise any adverse impacts through all phases of its implementation.

The report says environmental and social impacts can be however be mitigated.

This, it said, is through inclusive and universal design, responsible implementation, and serious operation, maintenance and follow-up through the implementation of the proposed Environmental and Social Management Plan.

Line 3 runs from Kenyatta Hospital to Dandora, via Ngong road, Haile Selassie Avenue, Race Course road, Ring Road Ngara, Pangani junction, Juja road, Outer Ring junction and Koma Rock road.

NaMATA however says the project will come with good tidings.

The ESIA report says the multi-billion shilling project will help cure some of the transport woes associated with the once green city under the sun.

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

Currently, matatu operators utilise 14, 33 and 51-seater vehicles along nearly 70 routes licensed by National Transport and Safety Authority and carry nearly 400,000 passengers per day utilising nearly 10,000 vehicles.

Authorities believe the roll out of BRT will help provide solutions.

They say the main aim of the BRT and in particular Core Line 3, is to enhance mobility, accessibility and transport within the Nairobi Metropolitan region, from the hospitals on Ngong road to Dandora while providing interconnectivity with the BRT Line 2 (currently under construction) and the Nairobi commuter rail system.

The project aims to enable residents living within the corridor and other users to access a faster and more efficient mode of transport to all destinations along the Core Line 3 while contributing to a reduction of air and noise pollution.

The ESIA report concludes the implementation of the BRT project will improve transport connectivity and mobility in the city.

Under the plan, five corridors have been identified by authorities to decongest Nairobi roads. 

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

Line 2 which is ongoing runs from Rongai-Bomas-Langata Road-CBD-Ruiru-Thika to Kenol.

The line will be used for piloting.

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

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

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

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

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

The planning and design for some corridors are underway due to high existing public transport ridership and potential to benefit the greatest number of residents.

The project falls under the Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority and the intention is to improve transport services in the Nairobi Metropolitan area, which are critical for economic development, through provision of improved transport systems and the BRT system is one of them.

NaMATA was gazetted in 2017 with its mandate being to oversee the establishment of an integrated, efficient, safe, reliable and sustainable transport system within the Nairobi Metropolitan comprising of Nairobi city, Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos and Murang’a counties.

NaMATA CEO Francis Gitau says the resettlement action plan for line 3 shows that more 3,000 will be affected but at different levels.

Gitau further says the affected groups have been mapped and they are known.

“The project is for the people and not against the people. This project is supposed to cost 300 million Euros from Dandora all the way to Kenyatta National Hospital,” he says.

Gitau says a resettlement action plan has been developed to provide a guide for resettlement and restoration of the Project Affected Persons.

This he says is so that their losses owing principally to the construction of the BRT system are compensated or mitigated and their standard of living improved or at least restored to the pre-project levels.

Key public infrastructure components of line 3 include a dedicated BRT running ways all following existing roads, electric buses, 15 bus stations with facilities for pre-paid and off board fare collection, feeder interchanges, one park and ride at Dandora and one bus depot at Dandora.

Complementary measures including Non-Motorised Transport and corridor improvement items and Intelligent Transport Systems are also included.

Line 3 comprises of bus running ways, bus stations, bus depot, station access supporting infrastructure including pedestrian bridges where needed, fare collection and validation systems. Others are  interchange stations for feeder bus services, Park and Ride facilities, a BRT control room, and a real time passenger.

Pedestrian paths, cycle lanes, parking spaces, green spaces, secure crossings included in the overall project design are also included.

The ESIA study says BRT services will operate from 5am to 10pm.

The BRT route is to be physically separated from general traffic lanes.

This will ensure no crossing is possible between general traffic lanes and BRT lanes.

NaMATA is currently engaging with matatus operators so that matatu form part of the feeder routes system and do not compete with BRT.

The street vendors along the line will be given the opportunity to return and operate in the BRT corridor after construction is complete.

Private transportation will still continue operating along the route as there will be mixed traffic lanes on the BRT design.

In total, 15 bus stations will be provided along line 3.

Along the corridor of the BRT Core Line 3, the distance between two bus stations is typically about 500 metres.

The fleet size for the corridor is 110 buses with body sizes of 18 metres and each with an average energy consumption of 1.6 kWh/km.

The total energy consumption of buses will be 3.4 MWh per day.

During the peak hours, 91 buses will operate while at night, buses will be slow charge.

During the day between the peak hour periods, the buses will be fast charged with 1.9 MW of total power at the depot;  Including the power demand of the workshop and other facilities at the depot a power of 3.0 MW is needed.

It is expected when it comes to operation by 2025, solid state batteries that have a longer lifetime (12 years) will be available.

The right of way will take up a land area of 35,972.42 metre cubic while the depot including parking for the BRT fleet will need 118,896.43 metre cubic.

Park and Ride facility at Dandora will take up 18,485.41 cubic metres while feeder bus stations (at Kenyatta hospital and Dandora) will take up land area of 13,338.96 metre cubic.

The EU has earmarked a EUR 45 million subsidy for BRT Core Line 3.

This subsidy is intended to leverage additional financing.

Accordingly, the European Investment Bank intends to apply as 'lead financier' for the delegation of the EU grant to support additional financing from the EIB and the Agence Française de Développement.

The remaining investment needs will be covered directly by the Kenyan government, though, as implementation details are further clarified, there is the possibility that additional financiers may join the project.



-Edited by SKanyara

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