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11.4.2018
THE MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT IS NOT SERIOUS ON BUS RAPID TRANSIT STANDARDS.

The government rush to introduce a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is understandable considering her failure to implement the 2010 constitutional demands of decent public transport. 

The inevitable introduction of National Youth Service commuter buses to salvage the present failed system is commendable. Over the years public transport has failed to self-regulate in delivering a decent transport system hence losing the moral ground to criticize new solution seeking by the government intended to stop the confusion. The state has an obligation to address commuter plight. Any responsible government would not abandoning her citizens to suffer. After subjecting commuters to indignity, the proponents of the rundown system should not again pretend to be saviours of the masses. Their intensions are to hijack the reforms and kill the baby before delivery. Deep-seated vested interests has been the bane that keep the public transport upgrade impossible. Kenya is not an exception by reintroducing a state-run bus system. World over, all well-run systems are under the state even Kenya had one. Public transport is so important at par with essential services like public education, health and security to be left on profiteering private ‘investors’ only.

A BRT standard is not a lane marked on the fast lane of a high-speed expressway. It demands first an infrastructure for High Occupancy Vehicles (not matatus) to use dedicated high standard lane built separately away from existing lanes. A fully automated platform for pick and drop points with swipe and board system. The lane is made by using a high raised kerb service lane(s) to prevent abuse by non-BRT vehicles. An ordinary 33 seater or 51 cannot qualify to be absorbed in a BRT system.  Nairobi and other big cities need a bus service akin and improvement of the defunct Kenya Bus Service and Nyayo Bus Service systems not in management only but the specifications which includes commuter capacity able to ferry more than 100 persons at a time, durability, comfort, safety, state ownership, decent seats, world-class customer care service, Pollution prevention, well-ventilated, interior electronic fare paying card et al

The fact the upgrade is long overdue is not reason enough to do it haphazardly. Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ruanda South Africa and many other African cities BRT Systems are already in place in good standards. The beneficiaries of the chaotic systems running amok, must be checked since they are responsible for the sabotage of well past organised formal buses- KBS, Metro buses introduced by Njeru Githae the then minister for Nairobi Metropolitan and NYS Buses. Bad policy on 14 seater has seen dilapidated still roaming the road show how ad policy formulation fail.

Hiving off a lane out of the existing roads is unacceptable. NAMATA should stop being lazy and build a new lane on the central median since there is enough space for that. Other cities hive BRT on median strip and side roads space. There are no two ways about it. BRT must be done right. Transport by other stakeholders should be interfered with unfairly. Unless it’s a wholly State Run System, private motorists, truckers, taxi, tourist vehicle owners, fleet owners and others cannot not allow one subsector to use exclusive lanes. The cartels demanding their way or the highway must not this time have their way at the expense of the masses. The government has overlooked the rundown of transport for too long. The unholy alliance revolves around the top public officials, string-pulling multinationals suppliers and the subsector cartels.

The claim that jobs will be lost is not true or reason enough to continue he informality. The present system will remain intact away from BRT which will serve only some section of Transport. A decent BRT will not eat into existing PSV businesses since many on private means and other who walk due to unfair fares will increase commuter base enhancing movement, numbers and improved GDP. To lure private car owners public transport systems must not only meet the best acceptable standards but introduce time scheduled services to cover current unserved routes. The present matatu picks commuters at main terminals in town or far away pick points badly inconveniencing those that need the services in between the terminals. You can’t cajole private car owner to leave the car home while there is no public service within their exclusive estates. Include too streets that can’t be served by the present disorderly system. If the government can assure me of a clean, world-class, music-less, well ventilated, metro bus cruising outside at my estate or near the office on scheduled timetable, then I will leave my car home. How do you expect me to walk from Muthurwa, Ngara, Railways to my workplace at View Park Towers? Organize the network and proper mapping of routes schedules and I 'll only use my car to run errands, weekend follies, drive to church and Mosque, and for my runabouts away from CBD. A bus moving around and picking commuters at designated bus stops with neon notices on the timings will grow the economy which depends on movements.

The policymakers must not be allowed to circumvent the set world standard of BRT system by corruptly and lazily introducing an inferior system to benefit the well-connected cartels. No to sabotage and hijack of every move to have a state-controlled bus system. The government should stop being lazy and do the right BRT.

 

 Motorist Association of Kenya

Our Contacts

Motorists Association of Kenya

P.O BOX 8120-00200

Tel: 0723 779950

Email: info@motoristassociationofkenya.com

Web: www.motoristassociationofkenya.com

 

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