Nairobi private motorists will from Friday 1st February be forced to use public transport as the Ministry of Transport will be marking its first pilot phase for “car-free days” in select roads within the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD).
According to a statement from the Ministry of Transport, the roll-out of the car-free days, set to be Wednesdays and Saturdays, is targeting select roads among them Moi Avenue, Harambee Avenue and City Hall Way in a move expected to reduce congestion and ease the flow of traffic within Kenya’s busiest city.
The policy also gears to embrace the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), a brainchild of the Nairobi Regeneration Committee that was tasked with solving critical challenges facing the capital and is set to start operations from February 2019.
Transport Cabinet Secretary on Monday disclosed that the first batch of 64 BRT buses was ready for shipping from South Africa adding that sectoral representatives were concluding negotiations on the acquisition of 11 light trains from Spain, for use alongside the buses.
Macharia also said that twenty more trains will be shipped in due course, noting that for efficiency in the city’s transport sector, at least 900 BRT buses are required.
Once car-free days are implemented, members of the public are expected to cooperate and use public service vehicles on the selected roads with Uhuru Park and Railway bus terminus designated as parking spots during the 2 car-free days.
On the said days, the only individuals with bicycles, police vehicles and emergency cars will be the only ones allowed into the City Centre. Matatu operators will drop and pick passengers at the designated termini.
Public Works Principal Secretary Paul Maringa during a press briefing on Monday said that during the set days, hawkers will, however, be allowed to use the available spaces within the CBD to sell their wares, a move that aims at generating 39.5 million shillings daily revenue to the government from over 100,000 hawkers.
Maringa further noted that from this program, more people will get employed thus generating 3.8 billion shillings annually.
Over 5,000 stalls will also be erected during the pilot program at CBD.