Nairobi Ranked Among Worst Cities in Public Transport Globally

  • Section of Nairobi Expressway along Mombasa Road.
    Section of Nairobi Expressway along Mombasa Road.
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    State House
  • An international report has ranked Nairobi among the cities with the worst public transit systems globally. 

    According to the 2022 Urban Mobility Readiness Index, compiled by the Oliver Wyman Forum and the University of California Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies, Nairobi was ranked 59th out of a survey of 60 cities worldwide, scoring 25 percent- a figure below the average threshold of 51.7 percent. 

    The low score was attributed to low or moderate rates of car ownership and less developed public transit systems which resulted in high levels of walking. 

    A graph of the Public Transit sub-index in the 2022 Urban Mobility Readiness Index.
    A graph of the Public Transit sub-index in the 2022 Urban Mobility Readiness Index.
    Oliver Wyman Forum and University of California, Berkeley analysis

    The survey also noted that the development of electric vehicles faced headwinds due to a lack of investments. 

    However, the survey gave Nairobi a lifeline- noting that low car ownership presented an opportunity to rapidly adopt a strong EV market and essentially leapfrog the leaders within the market. 

    "Nairobi’s public transit, consisting of matatus (public minibuses) and buses, is affordable, and wait times are low. However, it is underutilized due to inadequate station density and a poor national rail network. Walking is a popular mode of transportation in the city due to low road quality and connectivity as well as limited public transit offering.

    "But few shared mobility operators are active in the city, and residents have not yet embraced it," read part of the report.

    Aside from public transit systems, the report ranked cities based on two other factors; Urban Mobility Readiness (a factor that considers how well-positioned global cities are to lead the mobility’s next chapter) and sustainable mobility ( which measures how well cities are shifting to electric and diverting from greenhouse gas emissions.

    On the UMR index, Nairobi ranked position 59 out of 60 and in terms of sustainable mobility, the city scooped position 58. 

    In the survey, Hong Kong's mass transit railway was ranked first globally. This was attributed to low fares, limited delays, service disruptions, and the ability for the system to support itself financially.

    Zurich, Stockholm, Singapore and Helsinki rounded out the five best cities for public transit respectively. 

    The public transit index is drawn from various metrics such as transit commute speed, public transit affordability, rail network, diversity of public transit modes, public transit operating hours and transit estimated time of arrival.

    A graph of the Sustainable Mobility sub-index in the 2022 Urban Mobility Readiness Index.
    A graph of the Sustainable Mobility sub-index in the 2022 Urban Mobility Readiness Index.
    Oliver Wyman Forum and University of California, Berkeley analysis