Lobby asks Sonko to suspend matatu ban
Traffic jams in Nairobi Central Business District will be a thing of the past starting Wednesday should the county government effect a ban on public service vehicles.
This is another attempt by the county to rid the city of the matatus that have been blamed for traffic congestion as they block major streets and link roads in the CBD.
But even before the directive took effect, a consumer lobby has called on Governor Mike Sonko to halt the plans until the devolved government develops reliable, decent and affordable transport to move commuters across the CBD, railway stations and the various termini.
More than 30,000 vehicles will not access the Central Business District if the ban is effected.
Through a gazette notice No.4479 of May 12, 2017, City Hall had notified the PSV operators and the public that changes would be made on the omnibus termini and routes.
Speaking to Sunday Nation, the Chief Officer, Roads and Transporting Fredrik Karanja, said that the notice was to enforce a gazette notice after the grace period they gave PSV elapsed.
“We have all realised we can not keep living like this, something must be done to decongest this city by moving these vehicles to the public termini,” said Mr Karanja. He said they have modified and rehabilitated the relevant termini. The termini will not be parking bays for the vehicles but drop off and picking points with a maximum of 40 minutes allowed.
The Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) secretary-general Stephen Mutoro has said the ban was not only insufficient but unsustainable considering that previous attempts failed.
“Nairobi needs a fully integrated traffic management plan with corresponding investment,” Mr Mutoro argued.
He described the ban as discriminatory against commuters using PSVS, arguing that it will be easily challenged legally on the strength of Article 27(4) of the Constitution.
He asked the governor to put off the plan for at least three months and seek alternative modes of transport, including putting in place attendant infrastructure.
“Put proper and corruptionfree enforcement mechanisms, both human and technological.
Put in place sufficient parking lots and adequate sheds to protect Kenyans from adverse weather at the proposed new termini for PSVS,” advised Mr Mutoro.
Additional reporting by Joseph Wangui