The Kenyan government has allocated Sh500 million to facilitate the pilot phase of the bus rapid transit system (BRT) as it looks for private investors.
The Ministry of Transport is currently negotiating a deal with a South African firm to obtain thirty 100 to 160 capacity buses to reduce traffic in Nairobi. According to James Macharia, the ministry’s cabinet secretary, the buses could be rolled out by the end of next month if negotiations are finalised this week.
“We chose South Africa because those buses were ready and it’s quite near. So upon completion of the negotiations, which we will be having this week, we anticipate that after payment they should come within a week or two,” Mr Macharia said.
Curbing Traffic Congestion in the City
The BRT system will reduce traffic congestion in Nairobi while enhancing public transportation. Special lanes have already been marked on Thika Road for the testing phase.
At first, the National Youth Service (NYS) will run the BRT until the collaboration between the government and the private sector is running smoothly.
Mr Macharia said the government will form a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to work with matatu owners and vehicle assemblers. The SPV will own and run the project.
“We expect the private sector to also get involved and they have looked at a number of options. Samuel Kimutai (MOA chairman) and his group have been to India and have identified some buses which will come into this SPV, for which government and the private sector will work out modalities on how that operation will be run,” he said.
The Treasury is expected to exempt the importation of these buses from tax and duty to ensure low fares. However, stakeholders are yet to decide on the fare structure.
“At the end of the day, we would want this benefit to be passed to the mwananchi. One of the biggest complaints we have had is the exploitation by people in the transport sector,” Mr Machaira stated.