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Private cars to be banned from CBD

You may soon be forced to leave your car at home and use public means to get to work.

This is one of the key recommendations the newly constituted Transport and Urban Decongestion Committee is toying with as a way of taming traffic jam in the city.

If adopted, driving a private car to town would be outlawed and disregarding the rule will attract huge fines.

Taxi drivers are not spared either, as they will be moved out of the town centre. The committee blames them for compounding the problem. Governor Evans Kidero said they will only come to the CBD on call.

“Either there would be designated points for the taxis or better still, they only access the business district on call. Taxis have not helped in minimising traffic snarl-ups in Nairobi,” he said

Dr Kidero said they would also consider turning some of the roads into one-way to ease traffic flow.

According to Mr Simon Kimutai, a member of the committee and the chairman of the Matatu Owners Association, there will be many casualties when their recommendations are finally implemented.

“City residents should be ready to make sacrifices because we will be making drastic recommendations that will not be so pleasant to some of them,” he said.

The governor said they are investing more in the public transport system to accommodate everybody.

“There is a deliberate initiative we have put in place to expand the public transport system, we are calling it Bus Rapid Transit System and with the expansion of Outer Ring Road and the completion of the Southern by-pass, we are sure to meet transport needs in the city,” he said

Rail transport is another alternative County Hall is banking its hopes on, “We are partnering with the Kenya Railways Corporation to achieve this, you will see more stations and more train trips,” Dr Kidero said.

And in as much as the step will force people to fully revert to public transport, critics argue this system has no adequate infrastructure to cater for the 4 million plus city residents.

In other cities like London, rail transport is the main means of transport and private cars are highly discouraged. It also imposes a “congestion charge” on private vehicles.

Some have argued the decision to increase parking fee to Sh300 from Sh140 was meant to achieve two things: Raise more revenue for the city government and reduce the number of cars in the town centre.

Formed on January 28, the committee will be collect views from members of the public starting this week and is expected to submit the recommendations to Dr Kidero in 60 days for action.