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The beginning of the end for matatus in Nairobi

NEWS
By Victor Mulama | April 28th 2021
Members of the public from Ngong Road walk to Nairobi CBD on April 27,2021. (Denish Ochieng, Standard)

The Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) yesterday took the first step of decongesting the city when it conducted a test run of the newly created Green Park Terminal.

The exercise that was conducted at was conducted at what was formerly known as Lunar Park from 6am to 9am saw all public service vehicles from select routes drop and pick passengers at the terminal.

The test run, which led to a traffic snarl-up in the city, is expected to be carried out for the next two weeks.

All PSVs from Ngong, Lang’ata and Mombasa roads were diverted to the terminal’s drop-off sections with the help of NMS officials, National Transport Service Authority (NTSA) officers, and the traffic police.

Passengers were forced to walk to their destination within the central business district. The most affected were from Mlolongo, Ngong, Rongai and Pipeline, who were caught offguard by the abrupt changes.

“It seems the government has forgotten that there are those of us who have luggage and that this is far away from CBD. Now what am I going to do? There is no boda boda to help me carry the luggage to the marketplace,” said Rose Makau, a trader. Another resident, Samuel Munere, said he was unaware that the vehicle he was travelling in would leave him far from the CBD, where he works.

“I don’t know how we’re going to get to town from here. Something should be done. However, NMS has done a good job. ”

The drivers, who were directed by traffic officers at the Bunyala roundabout, praised the construction, saying NMS should maintain the quality of the facility.

“This Green Park Terminal is superb if the government will be serious in maintaining it,” one of the drivers who identified himself as Kamau said.

Private vehicles were allowed to enter the CBD without restrictions.

Eng. Michael Ochieng from Nairobi Metropolitan Services addresses the media on April 27,2021 at Green Park during Test Run where PSV vehicles that initially dropped passengers at Railways were diverted to the park. (Denish Ochieng, Standard)

NMS Director for Roads, Transport and Public Works Michael Ochieng said the test run would take place in four phases before Director General Mohammed Badi announces the date of the official launch.

He said they will assess the readiness of various sections at the terminus to ensure safety was adhered to.

Ochieng noted that about Sh350 million had been spent to construct eight similar stations, some of which will be on Bunyala and Workshop roads, Fig Tree, Muthurwa-Landhies, Desai and Park Road Terminal.

The NMS official said he was aware of the challenges witnessed and that they would address the inconveniences.

“We have organised together with the Kenya Railway commuter buses to carry those people who cannot walk up to town like those with disabilities and expectant mothers. They were carried free of charge today, but we are planning on how the service will be charged.”

Ochieng also clarified that all PSVs will be charged for parking services in order to collect revenue for the park’s maintenance, including cleaning and litter collection.

Unlike the recent drop-off points at the Nairobi Railways, Green Park which has been under construction for six months, will have amenities including a police station, a hospital, Green Park village and a supermarket.

In addition, there will be a digital app where travellers will be able to track and pick up tickets for specific hours without any inconveniences.

The terminal test on Tuesday was part of the decongestion strategies of the Nairobi Integrated Urban Development Master Plan. President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga visited the facility on April 1.?

 

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