Nairobi News

General

Parking fees not the solution to congested CBD

It was expected that Nairobians would protest at the latest move by the county government to charge for parking outside the Central Business District.

The move, announced by chief accountant Tom Tinega on Tuesday, will see motorists paying Sh200 to park in shopping centres outside the CBD such as Buruburu, Eastleigh, Kariokor, Kasarani, Kombo Munyiri Street, Lang’ata, Muthaiga, Ngong Road, Pangani and Ziwani.

The county government is already charging for parking in Community, Gigiri, Industrial Area, Karen. Lavington, Ngara, Upper Hill and Westlands.

One is bound to question the timing of the move, coming at a time when a case lodged by Matatu Saccos to bar the county from raising the parking fees within the CBD is still pending in court.

The reasons being advanced to justify the new fees are hardly convincing.

According to Mr Tinega, the move will decongest the CBD and spur business. It will ensure Nairobians drive to the CBD only when they must.

The imposition of new taxes can never be the incentive to decongest the city.

The Secretary of Muthurwa Market Sacco Society, Mr Francis Macharia, could not have put it better when he said the new fees will only discourage Nairobians from driving to such shopping centres.

“The argument will be that if things are cheap in a certain market but you pay Sh200 for parking, then you better shop near where you live. People will do such calculations,” he said.

We agree on the need for the county to generate revenue in order to deliver services — but we take issue with the manner in which it is raising revenue.

The lasting solution to the problem of congestion in the CBD does not lie in charging parking fees in the city estates.

It lies in increasing parking spaces, improving the quality and reliability of public transport, installing parking meters and in streamlining parking services to eliminate the cartels that thrive in the current mess.