, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 5 – The government has designated one lane on the Thika Superhighway for the proposed National Youth Service (NYS) operated Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) in a bid to decongest Nairobi.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia told the Senate Roads Committee that the six-lane highway is one of six corridors into the city identified by the ministry for the plan.
Apart from the Bus Rapid Transport buses, ambulances and vehicles belonging to visiting Heads of State will use the dedicated lane to avoid getting caught up in the city’s traffic endless snarl-ups.
“Because we require more than 900 buses for that purpose – which we don’t have right now – we shall start with one corridor, which is the Thika Highway coming into the city. So that with the few buses, although they are not fully BRT complaint because these are the NYS buses, we can start having those dedicated buses to bring commuters into the CBD,” the Cabinet Secretary told Senators.
At the same time, the Transport CS announced the government will on Monday facilitate a meeting between matatu owners and potential financiers to bring in the BRT buses.
“We have engaged the National Treasury to say if they bring proper BRT buses with certain specifications then Treasury will consider favourably removing duty on this buses. That will make sure we have more buses coming and the fares will come down, because the operators can’t have it both ways,” he said.
This came as Matatu Vehicles Owners Association opposed the move to re-introduce the NYS shuttles on some city routes saying it will undercut the private players in the industry.
Public Service and Youth Cabinet Secretary Margaret Kobia had on Wednesday told the same committee that the government plans to introduce 50 more NYS buses on the capital city’s routes and subsidize fares further, despite continued opposition from matatu owners.