Nairobi recurring traffic snarl ups experienced across the city is no more. From removal of Westlands roundabout, that has led to reduced congestion among commuters, Lusaka and Uhuru Highway roundabouts elimination which turned sour to now adoption of the Bus Rapid Transit System. All these are in the name of reducing Nairobi’s traffic. The Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS), which is in its first phase, envisions having five main lines of commuting; Ndovu Line 1, Simba Line 2, Chui Line 3, Kifaru Line 4 and Nyati Line 5. This system will see city residents’ gain from a single transit network, timetable and a specified tariff on fares.
The project that is targeting 2000 buses in the city, will first receive 200 buses in a move meant to ease commuting within the county. The buses will operate 24 hours a day so no worries about parking space. The European Union has agreed to finance the design work and construction of Line 3 (Ngong-Juja corridor) and the western section of BRT Line 4 (Mbagathi corridor), in partnership with financial institutions such as the German Development Bank and the European Investment Bank.
BRTS salient features
BRTS is a bus-based transit system that delivers fast, comfortable and cost-effective services at metro-level capacity. This is enabled through the provision of dedicated lanes, with bus ways and iconic stations typically aligned to the centre of the road, off-board fare collection and fast and frequent operations.
BRT systems have a number of salient features that make them faster and more convenient. They include dedicated lanes that ensure that the buses are not delayed by mixed traffic congestion, bus way alignment that keeps the buses away from busy curb side where cars may be parking or turning and off-board fare collection systems where fare is paid at the station as opposed to inside the buses.
BRTS has been implemented in Curitiba in Brazil and New Delhi in India with huge success. The same can be replicated in Nairobi and it will have to consider investment for the system to be embraced for a long time.
Recently, KES 58bn was allocated for cable car investment plan t tackle Nairobi traffic jams. The plan could be operational in the next two years.