Suspend CBD matatu ban until there's an alternative

Commuters trek to town on Monday as the ban on matatus from accessing the CBD took effect. /COURTESY
Commuters trek to town on Monday as the ban on matatus from accessing the CBD took effect. /COURTESY

Yesterday the CBD in Nairobi was in chaos. Governor Mike Sonko had banned matatus and tens of thousands of workers had to walk into the city centre from termini outside the CBD.

The irony is that the matatu ban was supposed to ease congestion. Instead it made it far worse with traffic jams stretching up Waiyaki Way, Thika Road and Mombasa Road.

This ban on public transport (i.e. matatus) in the city centre forced more commuters to use their private vehicles causing traffic jams. To make matters worse, thousands of commuters on foot blocked lanes on many roads.

Now Nairobi county wants to reduce the hourly car parking fee from Sh300 to Sh200. That will encourage more cars to come into the CBD and make traffic even worse.

There is no point in banning matters until you have a good alternative in place, ideally a light railway mass transit system. Until that day, you cannot deny public transport to Nairobi workers.

The CBD matatu ban should be lifted immediately.

Quote of the day: "Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life."

Omar Khayyám

The Persian poet died on 4 December, 1131