Crisis as Kenyans Use Nairobi Expressway, Claim to be Broke at Payment Point

A traffic snarl-up along the Nairobi Expressway at the Museum Hill tolling centre.
Lameck Muriithi

The operators of the Nairobi Expressway have been forced to go back to the drawing board after noticing a peculiar behaviour where some motorists are using the road but refusing to make payment at the exit point on the pretence that they are broke. 

Moja Expressway, the firm managing the historic road, has been scanning cars at the entry point and charging the toll fees at the vehicle exit points.

However, some of the exit areas, particularly the Mlolongo one, have been occasioned by heavy traffic as some motorists decry being broke when they are supposed to be paying for the kilometres covered on the expressway.

The Westlands toll station of the Nairobi Expressway
The Westlands toll station of the Nairobi Expressway

Others are reported to be insisting on paying via mobile money platforms despite being notified that the method was not permitted at the entry point.

The operator has now announced that they will introduce collateral to solve traffic jams on the elevated highway.

Speaking exclusively to on Wednesday, May 25, a representative from the company noted that it had noticed anomalies in the highway's operations which is part of the changes it seeks to implement after the trial period ends.

For instance, the traffic, which was experienced on the evening of Tuesday, May 24, was caused by a lack of proper payment methods by some of the motorists at the highway's check out.

The representative, however, confirmed that Moja Expressway was considering introducing collateral in which motorists can hand over their valuables and only pick them once they settle their charges.

"We are still on trial period so definitely we are taking note of these issues and what we can do about them. At the entrance, they are reminded they will have to pay using cash.

"They can give a collateral and later on come to pay at the service center," stated the representative without divulging further details on individual valuables.

Most used collateral items, however, include mobile phones, laptops among other personal items. The traffic jam atop the highway extended from Syokimau to Mlolongo, a distance of almost 5km surpassing the traffic on the lower deck road traffic in the same stretch.

The road users later raised concerns about the amount of time spent making payments on the Expressway. The exits and entrances of the 27-km road have created choke points which lead to traffic snarl-ups as motorists queue to pay to use the road.

In a statement, Moja Expressway also estimated that the most preferred payment method was the Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) which is a non-stop service.

The Manual Toll Collection (MTC) card which is loaded with points is the second most preferred method that offers a touch-and-go at checkouts. The cash payment method is the most time-consuming as it requires the attendants at the toll stations to return the balance to the customers.

Motorists stuck in traffic along Mombasa Road
Motorists stuck in traffic along Mombasa Road