Nyeri Senator Wahome Wamatinga (pictured) wants the Ministries of Roads and Health, Kenya National Highways Authority and National Transport Safety Authority to develop a policy framework incorporating road reserves for road-side amenities on all highway designs.
Mr Wamatinga in a motion before the Senate wants the two ministries and state agencies to undertake a survey to ascertain the specific amenities required and the most convenient locations to develop them for use by citizens.
The senator is seeking a Public Private Partnership guideline on leasing the road reserves to developers, financing the construction of the amenities and packaging incentives to attract investors to support this programme.
“The majority of highway users are long-distance travellers, some being children, elderly or sick where they face a myriad of challenges including traffic delays, breakdown of vehicles that cause them to spend long hours on the road,” said Wamatinga.
He argued that lack of amenities exposes the passengers to starvation and insecurity.
The senator said there is an urgent need for sanitary and medical facilities along the highways.
He argued that setting up safe stopping points for road users at regular intervals with necessary roadside amenities such as fuel stations, parking spaces, restaurants, telephone booths, little repair shops, medical facilities and toilets enhances the travel experience.
Wamatinga further said that lack of these facilities makes it impractical for drivers to stop as often as they wish resulting in driving-related fatigue, a significant contributor to accidents on the highways since road aside amenities are currently operated by private entities.
“Most of the roadside amenities available are operated and maintained by private companies, majorly oil companies located in urban centres while in the countryside there are inadequate numbers offering a limited variety of facilities to road users,” he said.
The Senator said that the cost of such developments and the uncertainty of the returns on investment restrict the supply of the facilities, the risks too great for small companies and the returns too meagre for large companies forcing them to restrict themselves.
Wamatinga noted that most amenities are provided by commercial companies necessitating government intervention to ensure that the interests of road users across the country are well taken care of.
He said governments across the world such as France and Germany have taken up the task of setting up such amenities through the incorporation of the basic provisions in their road transport infrastructure through different models of Public Private Partnership, lease or ownership.