Order banning matatus from CBD ignored


Matatu
Matatu

A section of traders in the Nairobi Central Business District were on Monday up in arms to protest what they termed as failure by the Nairobi County Government to enforce its orders to deter matatus from obstructing their businesses.

On Sunday, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero ordered matatus to stay out of the central business district (CBD) from today (Monday), a move aimed at easing congestion in the city.

However, matatus seem to have given the order a wide berth as revealed by a spot check by Citizen Digital that showed matatus freely picking and dropping off passengers at the various bus stops in the CBD.

A similar directive issued two weeks ago had sparked protests by matatu owners, who threatened to paralyse public transport unless the directive was rescinded.

The operators were lamenting that relocating them will adversely affect their businesses since they have no alternative areas to operate from.

On Wednesday last week, the Nairobi County Government and Matatu Owners Association (MOA) reached an agreement that seemingly ended the week-long impasse on parking space within the CBD.

In the meeting led by Deputy Governor Jonathan Mueke and officials from the Matatu Welfare Association, Matatu Owners Association and National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) resolved that no matatus will be locked out of the CBD, but proposed that only two buses will be allowed at a terminus at a time.

The stakeholders also agreed to call off a planned strike that was aimed at protesting the new contingency measures that had been announced earlier by governor Kidero.

Another proposal from the meeting was the formation of a committee, bringing together all stakeholders in the transport industry, to oversee the documentation of the resolutions reached for presentation to the county government to be gazzeted.

The committee, which will later be named into Nairobi Metropolitan Transport Service, was mandated to look at the challenges facing the Nairobi transport sector and look at previous decongestion reports, implement short and long term public transportation plans, introduce mass rapid transport and ensure peaceful co-existence within the CBD.

City hall has for the last couple of years been trying to come up with a solution to the CBD gridlock without much success.

Human and vehicle traffic in Nairobi is among the thickest in Africa as matatus continue to invade pavements meant for pedestrians.

Roads notorious in the city for matatu chaos are River Road, Latema, Luthuli Avenue, Accra Road, Lagos Road, Ronald Ngala street and Sheikh Karume road among others.

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Story By Wangui Ngechu
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