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City train network welcome

By The Standard | February 22nd 2016

NAIROBI: Government plans to construct a Sh15 bilion commuter train network in Nairobi beginning June 2016 are welcome.

Nairobi’s population has grown exponentially outstripping not only housing and other social amenities; the roads have become increasingly smaller with the ever-growing number of vehicles. The time lost in traffic jams impacts negatively on the economy. It is estimated that Sh50 million is lost daily through traffic jams in the city. That is an unnecessary loss.

An efficient rail system is the panacea to this problem. It will go a long way in reducing traffic jams and ensuring that the productivity of workers is optimised. A reliable railway system could convince motorists to leave their vehicles at home, thereby achieving three things. First, the reduction of vehicles on the roads will significantly contribute to less environmental pollution; second, congestion in the city centre as motorists jostle for parking space will be a thing of the past and thirdly, traffic flow would ease.

It will however, take more than simply building the railway to achieve this. Those charged with its implementation must ensure it does not end up as one of the many white elephant projects we have had before; recall the traffic cameras, the much-touted security surveillance cameras? What happened to them?

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