China Lands Ksh5.6B Deal to Construct Special Bus Lanes in Nairobi

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    File image of buses operating under the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system
  • A Chinese firm will aid in decongesting Nairobi City after it landed a Ksh5.6 billion deal to build special lanes for high capacity buses.

    The construction of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system will commence in August 2020. The lanes will run from the Thika Superhighway through the Central Business District to Kenyatta National Hospital.

    "We signed the contract in the last weeks of July 2020 and the contractor is mobilising to commence in August for the first corridor from Clayworks to Haile Selassie and then to KNH," Housing and Urban PS Charles Hinga stated. 

    Over 100 buses are targetted to use the special lanes after the Chinese firm remodels Thika Superhighway to accommodate modern facilities such as boarding stations and footbridges. The stations will be placed beside the footbridges along the highway.

    A section of the Thika Superhighway at Allsops
    A section of the Thika Superhighway at Allsops
    Simon Kiragu

    Each bus is expected to carry a maximum of 160 passengers who will use electronic cards to pay their fare. They will also enjoy free Wi-Fi. 

    The buses will be managed by private operators. However, the National Metropolitan Authority (NAMATA) will act as regulators. 

    A bus stop offering a park-and-ride facility will be constructed at Kasarani to allow commuters to leave their vehicles behind to travel through the buses.

    "We have done all the necessary studies and engaged all the stakeholders within the transport sector including matatu operators. We want a reliable mass transit that will attract even those using private vehicles," NAMATA Chief Executive Francis Gitau stated. 

    Other decongestion projects are underway with Nairobi Metropolitan Services commencing construction of matatu Termini at Desai and Park Road. 

    Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko also outlined plans to decongest Nairobi after signing the Nairobi County Transport Bill 2019 on Thursday, July 9.  The Bill covers broad aspects of Nairobi roads, traffic management, parking, street lighting and more importantly air pollution issues. 

    For transport, the bill includes the Capital City Transport Plan, which is to be formulated after every five years and will be consistent with the County Integrated Plan. Nairobi matatu operators stand to benefit more because the laws focus more on how to ensure routes they ply are redefined to allow them to cover more areas of jurisdiction in the larger plan to scale down congestion in the city.

    Vehicles on the busy Thika superhighway around Mountain Mall.
    Vehicles on the busy Thika superhighway around Mountain Mall.
    Simon Kiragu