State kicks off plans for city's bus rapid transport system rollout

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along Thika Superhighway. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Plans to build a bus rapid transport (BRT) network in Nairobi have moved a step closer to reality, after the government kicked off the public participation phase of the multi-billion-shilling project.

In a gazette notice published on Friday, the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) invited the public to give submissions on the project that will see Kenya have its first BRT network.

The project has started on Thika Superhighway. "The Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (Namata) proposes to establish a bus rapid transport (BRT) roads project on Thika Superhighway,” stated Nema in the notice.

“The line of the project starts from Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) Terminal to Ruiru Depot, with a total length of 28.5 kilometres,” stated the notice.

In the 2021/2022 financial year, Treasury allocated Sh4.3 billion for Metropolitan Planning and Infrastructure Development, a decrease from Sh15.1 billion allocated in the 2020/2021 financial year.

Treasury said last month Kenya has taken a Sh6.4 billion loan from the Korean Export and Import Bank to help finance the project.

The long-term loan signed on January 2021 is yet to be disbursed.

It comes at a 0.1 per cent interest per year and a service charge of the same amount charged on the undisbursed loan amount according to Treasury documents.

Namata had initially mapped out five BRT lines along major roads in the city that record-high traffic density. The routes included Limuru-Kangemi-Nairobi CBD-Imara Daima –Athi River to Kitengela corridor and the Tala-Njiru-Dandora–CBD-Ngong Road corridor.

Others are Rongai-Bomas-CBD-Ruiru-Thika- Kenol-Murang’a road corridor as well as on Outer Ring Road running from the Mama Lucy Hospital-Donholm to the CBD.

Construction has however been slow with works on BRT stations at Kenyatta University, Safari Park Hotel and Garden Estate along Thika Road still far from completion.

According to Nema filings, the route 21.68-kilometre road network will have 13 groups of 25 BRT halfway stations along the whole line.

Ruiru and the KNH will have terminal stations. A transfer station will be set up at Kasarani.

The public will have a month to submit views. 

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