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Don’t drive us out of CBD, matatu operators plead

By Hudson Gumbihi | February 12th 2021

Ngara Bus Park [PHOTO: Boniface Okendo]

Moving matatus from the Central Business District (CBD) might create a transport crisis, players in the industry have warned.

Operators opposed to the relocation plan maintain the idea is ill-conceived since it did not take into consideration several factors likely to hinder its success.

For instance, drivers and touts are concerned that the proposed termini where they will drop and pick passengers are too small to accommodate their vehicles.

In a bid to decongest the CBD, Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) has identified six stages where all matatu operators will end their journeys.

The termini are Green Park, Fig Tree, Nyayo Stadium, Muthurwa, Desai, and Park Road. President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to launch Desai and Park Road. The phased-out relocation will end the reign of matatus within the CBD.
Matatu Welfare Association (MWA) chairman Dickson Mbugua says having matatus end at the designated termini might lead to a transport paralysis since PSVs that will not find space, are likely to be parked on roads and highways.

“Smooth flow of traffic into town will be disrupted by matatus blocking or parked on roads. We witnessed such confusion during the trial with Muthurwa bus stage where matatu drivers who did not find parking space simply ended journeys in the middle of Jogoo Road that became inaccessible before rules were relaxed,” says Mbugua.
According to the official, relocation should have targeted private vehicles that are the majority yet they carry few people compared to matatus.

“The solution to decongestion lies in putting in place the right infrastructure to fast track BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system that will have entry and exit points for buses. Secondly, just double the parking fee for private motorists and you will have a drastic drop of vehicles driven into town,” observes Mbugua.

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