Nightmare as country buses take over roads in Eastlands
As Nairobians begin to enjoy the free flow of traffic on some of the major highways, thanks to the removal of roundabouts, those with business or chores to do on the eastern side of the city are not so fortunate.
There is chaos around Landhies Road, Ronald Ngala Street, a section Haille Selassie Avenue and Race Course Road, which have been turned into illegal terminuses for buses from upcountry.
Landhies Road has been especially affected, with buses even parked on the pavement, inconveniencing both pedestrians and other motorists as they pick up or drop off passengers.
“The buses are parked all over the place, hindering traffic flow, especially when they are picking up or dropping off passengers,” a motorist, Mr Moses Wasurwa, complained.
The buses are supposed to pick up passengers from the nearby Machakos Country Bus Stage, but it too is jam-packed.
On Monday, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero issued a directive barring buses from the Central Business District as part of the campaign started recently to decongest the city.
In the campaign, roundabouts on the Mombasa Road/Uhuru Highway/Waiyaki Way artery were closed to motorists turning right.
Dr Kidero also directed that heavy commercial vehicles on Mombasa Road use the Southern Bypass — sidestepping the busy Uhuru Highway, which motorists has eased the traffic gridlock in that part of the city.
Operators and owners of public service vehicles on Wednesday supported the idea of removing the buses from the city centre but urged Dr Kidero to give them time.
They also said he should first establish alternative parking sites for the buses.
“City Hall should first look for a suitable site from where buses can pick up and drop off commuters without inconveniencing them,” Matatu Welfare Association chairman Dixon Mbugua said.
His Matatu Owners Association counterpart, Mr Simon Kimutai, backed him saying: “Let City Hall come up a workable proposal first, considering that most of the people who use the buses are from upcountry and cannot just be dumped anywhere outside the CBD.”
Mr Mbugua and Mr Kimutai said operators of the buses contribute a lot of revenue to the City County Government through seasonal parking fees.
They said they also transport traders from upcountry who come to Nairobi to buy goods for resale in other counties.
Relocating matatus from the CBD is one of the recommendations by the Transport and Urban Decongestion Committee which was set up by Dr Kidero in 2013.
The committee, chaired by Prof Marion Mutugi, handed over its report last October, which City Hall is now implementing.
In the report, the committee proposed that PSVs drop off passengers outside the CBD after which high capacity buses would transport them into the city.
The county government would provide this service. It would also be expected to provide commuter trains to transport the passengers to the CBD.