Special firm to run Sh1.6bn Nairobi high-capacity buses

Monday June 10 2019

bus rapid transit system

Workers mark a section of Thika Road ahead of the introduction of the bus rapid transit system. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO | NMG 

BONFACE OTIENO
By BONFACE OTIENO
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The Transport ministry will establish a firm to operate the 64 high-capacity buses aimed at easing traffic in Nairobi, officials have said.

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the firm will have representation from the public and the private sector, ending speculations as to who will manage the buses to be imported at a cost of Sh1.6bn.

“We are forming a special company to run and manage the buses. All stakeholders will be represented,” said Mr Macharia.

The Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system is generally designed to improve a city’s public transport network relative to conventional buses.

In Kenya, the government is set to launch six BRT corridors in Nairobi.

Priority corridors are the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Likoni, James Gichuru-Rironi and Bomas to Ruiru roads.

Other motorways also identified include Ngong Road — Juja, Mama Lucy — T-Mall and Balozi to Imara roads.

At their optimum capacity, the corridors are expected to hold up to 950 high capacity buses reducing travel time and cost by up to 70 percent.

Plans to establish a special purpose vehicle to manage the buses come barely a few days after Kenya cut the import orders by half in favour of buying some from local assemblers.

Kenya had planned to buy 64 bus rapid transit (BRT) vehicles from South Africa but will now acquire 32 and the other half locally.

This comes after the Treasury allocated Sh5.53 billion to be used in the construction of special lanes for the high-capacity buses in efforts to decongest Nairobi roads.

Dar es Salaam became the first city in East Africa to launch a BRT system, which has helped ease public transport. Dar es Salaam completed the first phase of the 21km rapid transit system, which has five terminals, 27 stations, seven feeder and three connector stations. About 140 buses operate daily on the special lanes.