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Sonko acts tough as he orders matatus out of city centre

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has set out to achieve what no city administrator has managed in post independent Kenya: drive out matatus from the city centre.

The governor’s office on Friday issued a circular implementing a gazette notice that will bar all matatus carrying less than 60 passengers from the Central Business District (CBD) starting next Wednesday, September 20.

The bold move, announced by acting county secretary, Leboo Ole Morintat, will see such matatus drop and pick passengers at designated termini outside the city centre.

“We promised to fix the transport and  traffic challenge,” bragged the governor.

PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU
PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

FIG TREE TERMINUS

From next Wednesday, all matatus accessing the CBD from Waiyaki Way or Uhuru Highway, Kipande Road, and Limuru Road will terminate at Muranga Road (Fig Tree) terminus A.

Those coming from Thika Road and including Kiambu Road including Ruiru will be dropped off at Muranga Road (Fig Tree) terminus B.

Vehicles using Juja Road, Ring Road and Park Road will drop off passengers at the Ngara Road terminus.

Matatus plying Mombasa and Langata roads will drop off their passengers at Hakati terminus, while Railways terminus will be left for matatu’s from Ngong Road.

All vehicles from Jogoo Road and Lusaka Road will terminate their journey at Muthurwa terminus.

All high capacity vehicles from upcountry will be relocated to Machakos terminus while diametric routes will operate from the central bus station.

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CIRCULAR ROUTE

In a bid to ease movements for passengers going to and from town, the county has created a circular route that will connect all the termini to CBD and Upper Hill.

Sonko said his administration would “allow over 60 passengers standing vehicles to use roads within CBD and expand CBD to include westlands, Pangani, Eastleigh, Lusaka Road, Langata Road and Mbagathi Road”.

Put differently, passengers alighting at the satellite termini will be able to hop on to higher capacity buses, which will be able to access the CBD.

The notice also revoked all previous gazette notices and letters allocating any other places as picking and dropping areas in CBD.

The county, National Transport and Safety Authority and the police will enforcement the new changes from Wednesday.

PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU
PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

PREVIOUS ATTEMPT

However, this is not the first time the county government has tried to ban all PSVs from CBD.

In 2013, matatu owners and crews reacted angrily after the county passed a Motion that banned all public service vehicles from the city centre.

They county government argued that heavy traffic experienced in the city centre is a problem they wanted to eliminate once and for all.

But the Matatu Welfare Association (MWA) felt the move was unfair and would hurt many city residents who rely on public service transport.

The change, the association added, will also hurt the county as the PSVs are among its biggest sources of income.

Most private motorists are unable to navigate within the city centre as PSVs obstruct with impunity to pick and drop passengers.

Pedestrians are also unable to use walkways while businesses have complained of low returns as with PSVs block their premises.

RELATED STORY: Fury over bid to kick matatus out of CBD