Cash woes ground Sh20 fare NYS commuter buses on Nairobi routes

Wednesday March 18 2020

Passengers queue to board a National Youth Service bus to Kawangware at the Kencom bus stop in Nairobi on March 29, 2018. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Two-thirds of the National Youth Service (NYS) buses deployed to serve Nairobi city routes and lower fares have broken down.

Auditor-General Edward Ouko says only nine of 27 buses are currently in operations with the rest grounded.

He said the subsidised transport plan labelled Okoa Abiria programme had 27 buses when it started operations in March 2018.

Mr Ouko said no funds had been received for subsidised service, adding that the project also lacked a budget allocation for maintenance and operation costs of the buses.

“Under the circumstances, the sustainability of the Okoa Abiria Programme is highly uncertain,”

Mr Ouko said in a qualified audit report.



The NYS covered nine routes and deployed 27 of its 29 buses to ferry passengers at a cost of Sh20 irrespective of destination.

The initial areas covered include Pipeline in Embakasi, Githurai, Mwiki, Dandora, Kariobangi, Kibera, Kawangware, Kangemi and Kayole.

“As at the time of the audit, only nine out of 27 buses were still operational while 18 had broken down and were grounded,” Mr Ouko said in the report on the National Youth Service Mechanical Transport Fund books of accounts for the year to June 2018.

In April last year, Parliament approved a Sh500 million allocation to the NYS to acquire more commuter buses to beef up its fleet that started operations in Nairobi a month earlier.

The amount was factored in the supplementary budget II that was approved by MPs.


The NYS fleet started passenger service operations in Nairobi amid protests from matatu operators.

The MPs approved the Sh500 million allocation with reservations on the hurried introduction of the NYS buses without a proper feasibility study.

Prof Margaret Kobia, the Public Service and Youth Cabinet Secretary, had earlier told the Senate Committee on Transport that the procurement of additional buses would enable the NYS to cover more areas in the city.

“The pilot scheme began with an affirmative price of a flat Sh20 irrespective of distance within Nairobi.

“The charge is intended to initially recover the cost of fuelling without significant commercial gain and focusing on more vulnerable members of society,” Prof Kobia said.

-Story first published by Business Daily.