, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 28 – The much-anticipated Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system aimed at decongesting Nairobi city will soon become operational after the Ministry of Transport finalized the purchase of the first batch of buses.
Speaking after meeting with stakeholders in the public transport sector Monday, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the first batch of 64 BRT buses to be used for the pilot scheme is ready for shipping from South Africa.
“We decided that we require an integrated transport system whereby we bring the trains and the BRT buses,” said Macharia.
He also announced that negotiations are ongoing to procure of 11 diesel trains from Spain.
All these, he said, are efforts by the government to provide robust public transport in the capital city.
Macharia said after piloting, local manufacturers will have the opportunity to see the specifications and have the remaining BRT buses manufactured locally.
“This is just a pilot and the city will require at least 900 BRT so those remaining can be done locally after our manufacturers see the sample,” he said.
Some of the specifications of the BRT buses include two doors on the right hand side, driver controlled safety gadgets, roll over cage structure, stainless steel frame and electronic cash system among others.
Macharia said they are working to ensure that there is efficient public transport so as to discourage people from driving to the city, which causes congestion.
Several countries have adopted the BRT system including neighbouring Tanzania.
Matatu Owners Association Chair Simon Kimutai who was present urged private players to prepare to adopt to the new changes as the Bus Rapid Transit system will be run in collaboration with the private sector.
Kimutai demystified the allegations that the BRT system has come to push out the private sector from the public transport business, saying those were unfounded allegations.
“It has been confirmed to us from the ministry that no other person will run this, but those running the business today so we are together in this and now it’s just an issue of getting ready. The city is bigger than any of us and we want to be good example in transport provision in this area,” said Kimutai.
Matatu Welfare Association Chair Dickson Mbugua also said he was pleased that the Ministry of Transport had involved them in all the processes of implementing the BRT system.
“We decided to support the government in actualizing the BRT so that we can change the mode of transport in this country. We cannot afford to lag behind and we want to ensure fast urban mobility,” said Mbugua.