NO CONSULTATION

Confusion ahead of city decongestion plan

Industry players fault government for trying to edge them out of business

In Summary
  • Last year, NMS conducted at least three test runs to identify challenges and loopholes before opening the terminus to the public.
  • In a public notice last week, NMS said matatus plying Ngong Road and Argwings Kodhek will pick up and drop passengers at the terminus.
An electronic PSV boarding routes signage mounted at Green Park bus terminal on May 18, 2022.
An electronic PSV boarding routes signage mounted at Green Park bus terminal on May 18, 2022.
Image: WILFRED NYANGERESI

Nairobi residents using public service vehicles plying Ngong road should brace for confusion as Green Park Terminus start operations on Tuesday.

On Monday, players in the industry said the planned decongestion is the government’s plan to edge them out of business.

Matatu Owners Association chairman Simon Kimutai, Federation of Public Transport Sector chairman Edwin Mukabana and Matatu Welfare chairman Dickson Mbugua spoke to the Star separately.

“There is a need for a proper consultation with the players, which Nairobi Metropolitan Services ignored,” Kimutai said.

He said they are not against the project, but how it is being implemented.

Kimutai said NMS should have provided the holding ground for the vehicles as they queue to access the Green Park.

Mukabana echoed Kimutai's sentiments, adding that operators do not know how the government wants them to operate. “It is a matter of wait and see.” 

He said NMS has not been clear if the operators will have to pay the entry fee. “The technology to cue the vehicles at the park is not ready,” he said.

Last year, NMS conducted at least three test runs to identify challenges and loopholes before opening the terminus to the public.

The first one carried out on April 27 was marred with confusion and frustrations.

The three-hour test run, which started at 6am, was to observe how matatus would drop off commuters at the terminus.

The second one was on May 28, from 3pm to 6pm, which was to observe the picking up of commuters.

After the second test, NMS said some adjustments in terms of Covid-19 safety measures and the furniture at the terminus had to be done.

The third test run was done on June 17 and was a whole-day affair that ran from 5am to 9pm.

A month later, it was announced that the bus terminal would open for business after NMS called for lease applications.

Mukabana said entry and exit points were modified after operators raised issues. “The entry and exit were modified and we have not tested.”

He said the issue of the general management of the stage has not been clear.

This comes even as operators said they have written to President Uhuru Kenyatta requesting the postponement of the relocation exercise.

Mukabana said they petitioned the head of state mid-March, but there has been no response.

The operators said the exercise must be postponed until after the August election.

Mukabana said passengers have also not been involved.

Mbugua, who is also the Federation of Public Transport Sector secretary, said the manner in which the decongestion exercise was being implemented is set to affect the investors in the sector.

“They did not consult at all. Whenever you consult, nothing will go wrong as you will have the facts at your fingertips,” Mbugua said.

Despite the challenges being raised by the operators, NMS director for Public works Michael Ochieng’ said the decongestion exercise will go on as planned.

Ochieng' further said not all the vehicles will be accommodated at the park, adding that the park is however three times bigger than the railway station.

He said all vehicles using Green Park will have a maximum of 20 minutes to drop off and pick up passengers.

Only a maximum of three vehicles per sacco will be allowed at any time.

In a public notice last week, NMS said matatus plying Ngong road and Argwings Kodhek will pick up and drop off passengers at the terminus.

Those using Langata road will begin operations at the terminus on May 27.

Matatus using Ngong road will have a dedicated lane along Uhuru Highway to Kenyatta avenue and their destination through Ngong road without interference.

Those using Langata road and coming to the CBD will either go through the T-Mall roundabout or Nyayo Stadium.

They will head to the City Mortuary roundabout and join Ngong road and later take the normal road to Kenya National Library and NHIF area and enter the Green Park through the dedicated lane.

The second alternative is to go to Nyayo Stadium, then turn left and come through Uhuru Highway to Bunyala roundabout then turn left and take Lower Hill road.

From Lower Hill, they will join Haile Selassie Avenue, and turn left for a few metres to get a new U-turn, which has been constructed to filter traffic and make another U-turn to the Green Park.


(edited by Amol Awuor)

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