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Mombasa mulls rapid bus system to decongest city

Friday February 8 2019

Mombasa city

An aerial view of Mombasa city. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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The Mombasa County government is on a fact-finding study for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, aimed at decongesting the island city.

County transport executive Tawfiq Balala on Thursday said the study, which is underway, involves collection of county traffic data.

In an interview, Mr Balala said the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has partnered with the county to carry out the traffic survey that would help in the implementation of the project.

“The project will be part of the governor’s legacy when he leaves office in 2022. We are committed to complete the study of the whole project before the end of this year and start the actual works,” said Mr Balala.

The first phase involves the collection of traffic counts survey by officers in designated routes being used by the Public Service Vehicles (PSV).

Mr Balala also said the consultant who did the Dar es Salam in Tanzania rapid transit system study has shown interest in the Mombasa project.

“We have been in engagements with them and they are working to show us their success story before we agree on working together,” said Mr Balala.

He noted that unlike the Nairobi BRT programme being implemented in coordination with the national government, the Mombasa County is putting its own efforts.

He added: “We have limited resources and that is why we are moving at a slow pace, but we are determined to achieve this. We trying to revise all possible ways to see the project being implemented.”

Mr Balala said the first phase will include four buses located at main junction leading to the central business district.


According to preliminary plans, the devolved unit has proposed that the main road from Buxton to the CBD be turned into a dedicated lane for the buses.

This will mean that the six lanes that the Mombasa CBD main road have on both sides of the roads will be turned to a single lane.

The buses are expected to take seven minutes to move in the entire CBD. This will allow the public use less time to work place and home.

A majority of people use matatus, which take up to 30 minutes to move in the entire CBD.

According to the proposal, the BRT system will have buses that carry about 100 passengers.