PSVS vow to defy city centre ban
Matatu owners group warns that Nairobi will come to a ‘standstill” if the ban is effected
Ashowdown looms tomorrow after matatu operators in Nairobi vowed to defy the directive by Nairobi County government to ban public service vehicles from the city centre even as the order faces logistical nightmares.
On Thursday, City Hall announced that no Public Service Vehicle (PSV) will be allowed into the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) to pick -up or drop off passengers saying that it was commencing the operationalisation of a gazette notice of May 12, 2017 that designated specific termini and routes within PSVS operating through city centre.
Acting County Secretary Pauline Kahiga stated that the county government had revoked all previous gazette notices allocating any other place as picking and dropping areas within the CBD.
“The operators are required to take note that the above changes take effect as from December 3, 2018,” read the notice from Ms Kahiga.
But matatu operators have questioned the feasibility of the order as the designated termini face capacity, amenity and security challenges making the implementation of the directive difficult.
Matatu Owners Association (MOA) chairman Simon Kimutai warned that Nairobi will come to a ‘standstill” if the ban is effected thanks to the gridlock likely to occur as the over 20,000 matatus that ply the various city routes fight for space in the designated termini outside the CBD.
Mr Kimutai stated that the capacity of all the designated termini is about 500 parking slots only.
“I do not think this will work. It cannot work as nobody is prepared for it. What is the capacity of Muthurwa Fig Tree and Murang'a Road terminus?.
“Even if we honoured it, for instance, Nairobi will come to a standstill as we have over 20,000 vehicles in Nairobi and we have more or less the same number coming from upcountry,” added Mr Kimutai yesterday.
He said that more than 2,000 vehicles ply Jogoo Road route while the Thika Road and Waiyaki Way have over 3,000 vehicles. Mombasa and Lang'ata road routes have more than 8,000 vehicles with Ngong Road having over 1,000 vehicles.
Mr Kimutai explained that the listed bus termini are already full and they cannot accommodate more than 50 vehicles each.
“It will bring on confusion as there will be gridlock as passengers disembark. They should have looked for a holding ground just to park and then allow for a certain number of vehicles to come to the CBD but how would they have known this when they did not involve relevant stakeholders?” posed the MOA boss.
Association of Matatu Operators (AMO) chairman Jimal Ibrahim termed the designated termini as sub-standard citing Hakati or Central Bus Station terminus and described Muthurwa, Murang'a Road and Fig Tree termini as small and lacking security.
“My members are not ready to move out until the county government meets their standards. The termini are too small to fit our vehicles and they have not reached our standards for instance Muthurwa is in a mess,” said Mr Ibrahim.
He suggested that the county government should have made Machakos Country Bus station a holding ground for city matatus, moved long distance PSVS out of the CBD to Westlands and Kasarani and hiked parking fees for private vehicles to Sh1, 000 daily to decongest the capital city.
“If I was the governor I would have first dealt with the long distance buses and move them out of the city centre, hike seasonal parking for private vehicles to reduce their numbers in the CBD and make Machakos Country a holding ground for city centre matatus,” he said.
Matatu Welfare Association chairman Dickson Mbugua said that the designated termini are in bad condition with no lights, bad carpeting and cannot be able to accommodate all matatus in Nairobi.
“For example, Muthurwa Terminus has been taken over by hawkers and I wonder how it will accommodate all the vehicles from Jogoo Road. Commuters should not suffer. The county should come up with solutions of transporting them from the termini to the CBD and vice versa,” said Mr Mbugua said.
On Thursday, Nairobi Transport executive Mohamed Dagane said that the designated termini have a capacity of 505 parking slots in total but explained that they will only act as pick-up and dropping points for passengers and not holding grounds for the matatus.
“This gazette notice is not anything new but we are just reinforcing it. There are many Saccos already operating from the termini which are already marked. We do not want them to be holding grounds but pick-up and dropping points for passengers,” said Mr Dagane on Thursday.
On matters security and how the order will be implemented, the Transport executive said that it will be implemented in conjunction with the national government through the Ministry of Interior.
“We will position officers in various entry points who will be directing the matatus and not allow them to come into the city centre,” he said.
Mr Dagane allayed fears that the ban will inconvenience commuters saying that 40 per cent of commuters in Nairobi always walk to work.
However, MOA chair Kimutai was of a contrary opinion saying that the ban will significantly inconvenience commuters who will have to walk long distances to access work places.
The notice published in the local daily indicated that all PSVS accessing the CBD from Jogoo and Lusaka Roads will be picking and dropping passengers at the Muthurwa Terminus.
Those using Waiyaki Way, Uhuru Highway, Kipande and Limuru roads will have their final stop at Muranga Road Fig Tree Terminus A. The same as those from Thika Superhighway.
PSVS that go past Ruiru but branch off before Kenol Town on Nyeri/meru - Nairobi Road, will stop at Desai Road terminus. Those going past Kenol on Nyeri/meru-nairobi road and all upcountry buses on Uhuru Highway will be stationed at Park Road Terminus.
Matatus using Juja Road, Ring Road Ngara and Park Road to access CBD will stop at Ngara Road Terminus.
All Urban and peri-urban routes from Mombasa Road and Langata road will use Hakati terminus while those from Ngong Road will stop at Railways.
High capacity PSVS from upcountry will be stationed at the Machakos terminus while matatus including City Hoppa, Kenya Bus Services which are on multiple routes within the city will be stationed at Central Bus Station. enlisted, provide their appointment numbers, ranks and date of promotion.
The fourth will be the keying in the officers' stations and when they reported there.
Officers will also have to give their transfer history. The government also wants the officers to give details of their schooling.
They will also say the marks and grades scored.
Lastly, the officers will be required to provide information on their next of kin.
Dr Matiang'i said the aim of the programme is to ensure most data in his ministry is electronically registered.
He also said data on licensed gun holders should be digitised. This was after he learnt that many people who possess guns are not certified legally.
Mr Boinnet directed county commissioners to prepare police officers for the digital migration.
He has also sent the same information to police commanders.
“As we talk, the officers' details are in files. We need to capture the biometrics digitally,” he said.
He added that officers are already using service standing orders, an app in their smartphones.
With the records of officers being kept digitally, it will be hard for imposters to operate in Kenya, he said.
Also, the public will be able to authenticate from their gadgets if one is a police officer.