- CCTV cameras for security purposes and a television set are strategically mounted on the wall.
- At every pick-up and drop-off point across the city, passengers, in their numbers, are tossing and turning waiting for the buses.
For any Nairobian using public transport, a ride in the newest electric bus shuttling the city is a golden opportunity.
Perhaps it gets you relieved from the brassy music, ear-splitting sounds and blaring horns from the conventional matatus.
At every pickup and drop-off point across the city, passengers, in their numbers, are tossing and turning on both sides of the road. Each one is waiting for the new buses in town to arrive for them to board.
Statistics show there are about five million city residents using Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) as a means of transport.
I took a trip with one of the buses which have become popular on Kenyan roads in the recent past.
The allure and comfort inside the vehicle are top-notch. In fact, if not for the un-tinted windows, you may easily find yourself in another destination, thanks to the soothing music.
To offer you the required customer experience, the buses are silent with a vibration-free ride.
Premium synthetic leather seats and a spacious cabin are all that you require to have that relaxing travel back home or to work.
Apart from the technology-enabled cabin features, CCTV cameras for security purposes and state-of-the-art emergency exits, you can also charge your phone at the comfort of your seat and even browse or watch.
A television set has strategically been mounted on the wall.
Boarding the bus is so easy-a simple staircase that favours the young and old is fitted next to the automatic folding doors.
As it travels from the city centre cruising through Thika Road to Allsoaps and JKIA, most of the passengers inside appear to be also trying the ride for the first time.
If you travelling with your kids, these buses might be your best option as you cannot find those distasteful writings and graphics.
"Umewahi panda hii gari, ni kama uko kwa ndege"? (Have you ever travelled in this electric car? It is like flying in a plane). A man seated next to me asks in a low tone, an indication he is getting a buzz out of it.
"No, this is also my first time riding on it," I replied as he continues grinning from ear to ear until he alights at his destination.
The arrogant touts and makangas synonymous with the City matatus who keep banging and harshly hitting the buses to signal the driver to stop is an alien term here and you can be assured you can alight without a protest. Passenger bell switches are strategically fitted.
For the management of the Sacco, they can monitor the location of the vehicle, performance, and operational insights on real-time data for tracking operations.
If you are also looking to catch a ride, these buses have introduced an application where you can easily track it using the live bus locator and follow it as it reaches a stop near you.
Currently, Citi Hoppa buses ply Nairobi CBD to Allsops- JKIA while Super Metro operates CBD-Kikuyu and Kitengela.
East Shuttle operates City Stadium-Buruburu-Dandora with OMA plying Jogoo road-Buruburu.
BasiGo which is one of the 20 licensed startup companies in the country to assemble and deliver e-buses.
To ensure more Kenyans acquire the buses, BasiGo has introduced a Pay-As-You-Drive pricing option.
This allows you to enjoy such benefits like a simple daily fee based on kilometres driven, digital billing and payments between the operator and BasiGo plus a subscription that includes nightly charging of the battery.
The government has offered incentives to these private companies in a bid to increase the adoption of e-buses in the country as a strategy to address emissions responsible for global warming and climate change.
Diesel engines are one of the largest sources of carbon emissions accounting for almost 40 per cent of all passenger trips.
Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen says with the cost of buying electricity currently high as compared to those of diesel, it was only appropriate for the government to offer such inducements.
“There must be ways of incentivizing this investment so that it becomes easy for the public service sector (PSV) to adopt e-mobility… We are looking for tax incentives and other financial support that is going to be given to the private sector,” said Murkomen.
According to the CS, matatus and buses transport over two million people daily.
Kenya is said to produce 70 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources such as geothermal, hydro, solar and wind.
A public e-charging station has already been opened in Nairobi, a major attainment by the country as it continues to fully transition to green mobility.
The high-power DC station in Nairobi’s Buruburu owned by BasiGo, is also the first special e-mobility to apply a tariff applicable to those charging electric vehicles (EVs).
Kenya Power Company has approved a tariff for electric mobility which is Sh17 per kWh for daytime charging with a significant reduction to Sh8 per kWh for off-peak charging when there is a surplus of renewable energy supply.
This applies to consumption between 200 kWh and 15,000 kWh.
These buses can cover at least 250km when fully charged.