, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 8 – Transport Workers Union (TAWU) has protested against the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system claiming that they are not being involved in the process.
The workers held a procession from their office in Nacico Plaza on Landhies Road to the Ministry of Transport to present a petition to the Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia on Friday.
TAWU General Secretary Dan Mihadi said the workers have been locked out of meetings and deliberations on the implementation of the BRT System.
“They have Matatu Owners Association on board but not us, the people who work on a day to day basis. We are the ones with the technical knowledge of the day to day running of the Industry, we should be included,” Mihadi said.
Mihadi said if the implementation is not well coordinated to include public transport workers in such a massive stage, it would not be devoid of controversy.
Kenya is implementing an integrated transport system whereby the country will use trains and the BRT buses.
The move is aimed at decongesting Nairobi City and facilitates easy movement of passengers.
“Meetings are held in secrecy and we are left in the dark not knowing what is going on, we need our members to be represented in those meetings so as our views are heard, we are the expected to implement the system, yet we are left in the dark,” International Transport Workers Federation Africa Programs Coordinator Stephenstone Kisingu lamented.
The Ministry of Transport has already finalized the purchase of the first batch of 64 BRT buses to be used for the pilot scheme and they are ready for shipping from South Africa, with negotiations ongoing to procure 11 diesel trains from Spain.
The BRT will run in collaboration with the private sector.
Transport Permanent Secretary Charles Hinga has however reassured the workers of their involvement.
“The BRT comes with job opportunities for all of you, we will work with your union leaders to see Matatu workers are represented. You are the most important stakeholders,” Hinga told Matatu workers outside Ministry of Transport Offices at Transcom House.
Nairobi City will require about 900 BRT and will be manufactured locally following the pilot phase.
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.
The Sh9.6 billion project is funded by the European Union who gave Sh5 billion grant for its implementation.