Nairobi PSV driv­ers face fresh tests

City trans­port au­thor­ity pro­poses fresh manda­tory train­ing and ex­am­i­na­tions

Business Daily (Kenya) - - SHIPPING & LOGISTICS - Lynet Igad­wah lig­ad­­tion­

Pub­lic ser­vice ve­hi­cle (PSV) driv­ers within the Nairobi metropoli­tan area will un­dergo fresh manda­tory train­ing and ex­am­i­na­tion be­fore get­ting clear­ance to op­er­ate un­der new rules pro­posed by the Nairobi Metropoli­tan Area Trans­port Au­thor­ity (Na­mata).

The cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is in ad­di­tion to the reg­u­lar PSV driver’s li­cence, in what is an ef­fort to tame the ram­pant cases of un­der­qual­i­fied driv­ers op­er­at­ing PSVS thus en­dan­ger­ing com­muters’ lives.

The au­thor­ity, es­tab­lished in Fe­bru­ary through an ex­ec­u­tive or­der, is man­dated to pro­vide so­lu­tions to decades-old traf­fic chal­lenges in Nairobi, Ki­ambu, Machakos, Ka­ji­ado and Mu­rang’a coun­ties. “All driv­ers of pub­lic ser­vice ve­hi­cles within the metropoli­tan area shall, in ad­di­tion to the na­tional driv­ers pub­lic ser­vice ve­hi­cles driver’s li­cence, un­der­take ad­di­tional train­ing and ex­am­i­na­tion and shall on com­ple­tion be awarded the driver’s cer­tifi­cate of pro­fes­sional com­pe­tence as spec­i­fied by the au­thor­ity,” reads the bill spon­sored by Aden Duale, the Ma­jor­ity Leader in the Na­tional As­sem­bly. The Na­mata driver’s cer­tifi­cate of pro­fes­sional com­pe­tence will be valid for five years, mean­ing that driv­ers will be re­quired to take the tests afresh ev­ery half-decade.

Fa­cil­i­ta­tion of the driv­ers and op­er­a­tor com­pe­tency train­ings will be done by Na­mata which will fur­ther spec­ify and mon­i­tor the en­tire process.

Nairobi’s road net­work has strug­gled to keep up with its grow­ing pop­u­la­tion, which has in­creased to over 3.3 mil­lion from 350,000 in 1963. Ve­hi­cle num­bers have also grown in the pe­riod, which has re­sulted in city res­i­dents spend­ing hours stuck in traf­fic grid­lock es­pe­cially dur­ing the evening and morn­ing rush hours, lead­ing to losses in terms of money and busi­ness.

The sit­u­a­tion is made worse by un­ruly PSV driv­ers, who break traf­fic rules with im­punity, block­ing roads for other mo­torists across the city. In 2012, the World Bank com­mit­ted to in­vest $300 mil­lion (Sh31 bil­lion) in the mass rapid trans­port sys­tem (MRTS) project, in ad­di­tion to $113 mil­lion (Sh11.6 bil­lion) from the Kenyan gov­ern­ment.

Con­struc­tion of the bus rapid tran­sit sys­tem that is ex­pected to start this year will be the ini­tial phase of the World Bank-fund­edm­rts project.

Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta es­tab­lished Na­mata as an in­terim mea­sure pend­ing the en­act­ment of a statute that will cre­ate a fully fledged au­thor­ity with ex­panded pow­ers and a broader man­date.

The bill has gone through first read­ing in Par­lia­ment and now needs to be com­mit­ted to the rel­e­vant com­mit­tee for de­lib­er­a­tion be­fore it pro­ceeds to the next stage.

The en­act­ment of the reg­u­la­tions may how­ever face de­lay due to the slow start of par­lia­men­tary busi­ness fol­low­ing the hotly dis­puted Gen­eral Elec­tion.

Speaker of the Na­tional As­sem­bly Justin Mu­turi said re­cently that the House was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing chal­lenges

in deal­ing with some of its busi­ness as it is yet to con­sti­tute its depart­men­tal com­mit­tees.

A pro­tracted elec­tion­eer­ing pe­riod has led to quo­rum is­sues and a di­vided Par­lia­ment which has af­fected es­tab­lish­ment of the com­mit­tees man­dated to de­lib­er­ate on bills, pe­ti­tions and reg­u­la­tions de­vel­oped by State cor­po­ra­tions and gov­ern­ment en­ti­ties.

“Th­ese reg­u­la­tions will now have to re­main in limbo since this com­mit­tee is yet to be con­sti­tuted,” said Mr Mu­turi

Par­lia­ment has since gone on a 21-day re­cess that con­cludes on Novem­ber 29.

Once the Na­mata law comes into op­er­a­tion, the au­thor­ity will be re­spon­si­ble for the de­sign and spec­i­fi­ca­tion of all pub­lic trans­port routes and ser­vices routes, some of which were put in place in the early years af­ter in­de­pen­dence.

Fund­ing to run the au­thor­ity will be from the Ex­che­quer, na­tional and county gov­ern­ments, fines as well as do­na­tions and loans. Upon en­act­ment of the bill, the Trea­sury cabi­net sec­re­tary will be re­quired to es­tab­lish the Na­mata Fund from which the au­thor­ity will draw money au­tho­rised by its board.

The Min­istry of Trans­port is ex­pected to work with the au­thor­ity to de­velop a com­pre­hen­sive trans­port pol­icy on the de­vel­op­ment of the Metropoli­tan Area, for­mu­late and over­see the im­ple­men­ta­tion of an in­te­grated trans­port master plan.

SNARL UP Traf­fic jam in Nairobi. Res­i­dents spend hours stuck in traf­fic es­pe­cially dur­ing rush hours, a sit­u­a­tion that is made worse by in­dis­ci­plined PSV driv­ers.

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