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Owning a car becoming a liability in Nairobi

For a long time, owning a car has been every Kenyan’s dream. After all, the vehicles bring comfort and convenience.

But for Nairobi motorists, owning one is increasingly proving to be a liability.

First, motorists have to contend with traffic snarl-ups in the morning and evening, in which cars consume more fuel.

A 2012 study by IBM Corporation, a multinational technology and consulting company, estimated that the country loses close to Sh50 million a day due to traffic congestion in the city and its environs.

 The roads have become more congested as the number of vehicles on the roads grows steadily.

Motoring expert Gavin Bennett estimates that 1,000 cars are entering Kenyan roads every week.

But the nightmare pervades even after you make it to the city centre: finding parking space.

Many motorists make several laps before finding a slot, for which they are forced to part with a few coins to the parking boys. 

As you leave, the parking boys and guards expect some money for providing security to your car. Many who fail to cooperate find their cars vandalised.

Hurrying motorists are often forced to leave their cars with the parking boys or security guards to find a parking space.

And when they find one, they quickly sell it to another motorist and continue burning your fuel in more laps.

Motorists also have to dig deeper into their pockets since the Nairobi County last week increased the parking fee from Sh140 to Sh300.

That is not all. If you plan to drive home, you cannot enjoy a drink at your favourite bar like before: you risk a fine of up to Sh100,000 or a year in jail after the government introduced Alcoblow in December to check drunk driving. 

On top of that, your car will be towed to the police station and you have to pay Sh10,000 for breakdown services.

Nairobi motorists, it seems, are under siege!