In a groundbreaking move to alleviate traffic congestion in Nairobi, the State has unveiled plans to allocate a staggering Sh1.14 billion towards the implementation of the city’s bus rapid transport (BRT) project. The funds, set to be disbursed in the upcoming fiscal year commencing in July, will witness a collaborative effort between the national government, which will contribute Sh1 billion, and foreign financing to cover the remaining costs, according to the National Treasury’s recently released expenditure plan.
This substantial allocation marks the second consecutive budget cycle that the BRT project has secured a significant funding boost. In the current financial year, the project was granted Sh1.17 billion, a noteworthy increase from the preceding year’s Sh700 million.
Designed to alleviate congestion within Nairobi and its surrounding areas, the BRT project aims to establish dedicated lanes exclusively for rapid bus transit. Spearheading the project is Stecol Corporation, formerly known as SinoHydro Tianjin Engineering Company, overseeing the construction and execution of this ambitious endeavor.
The Nairobi Metropolitan Area Authority has already designated 12 mobility corridors to accommodate the BRT, seven of which will serve as core mass rapid transportation routes, linking prominent locations such as Limuru, Ngong town, Kenol, Murang’a, Kiambu, Ruai, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), and Konza Techno City.
The inaugural line, spanning 20 kilometers, will extend from James Gichuru Road/Waiyaki Way to JKIA. Line 2, covering an impressive distance of 31 kilometers, will traverse Lang’ata Road, Ngong Road, Juja Road, Komarock Road, and Ruiru. Notable stops along this route will include Dandora, Kariobangi, and the vicinity of Gikomba market.
Line 3 is projected to run from Githurai, along Thika Road, terminating at Moi Avenue in the Central Business District (CBD) and the iconic Kenyatta National Hospital. Meanwhile, Line 4, spanning 14 kilometers, will connect T-Mall to Jogoo Road, and Line 5 will service Outer Ring Road.
Of utmost importance, priority corridors will include JKIA to Likoni, James Gichuru-Rironi, and Bomas to Ruiru roads.
The Kasarani-Kenyatta National Hospital line, stretching 27 kilometers, is poised to become one of the first operational segments of the BRT network. Situated within the second corridor, which runs from Kenol to Rongai, this line aims to significantly reduce commuting times. To further facilitate seamless travel, a convenient park-and-ride facility will be established in Kasarani. This will enable motorists traveling to the city center to conveniently leave their vehicles and utilize the BRT system for the remainder of their journey.
In a promising move towards sustainability and environmental consciousness, the Transport Ministry announced last year that the BRT system will feature high-capacity electric buses. This shift is expected to reduce public transport costs while securing more favorable financing options and minimizing the nation’s carbon footprint.
However, progress on the designated BRT stations has encountered setbacks. Locations such as Garden City, Safari Park, Roysambu, Clayworks, Kahawa Barracks, and Kenyatta University have experienced prolonged inactivity for months, leading to concerns about delays in the project’s timeline.
In addition to implementing the BRT system, the government is exploring the introduction of a traffic congestion charge for motorists. This fee, applicable to vehicles traversing heavily congested zones like the CBD, aims to further tackle the issue of traffic congestion in Nairobi. The National Green Fiscal Incentives Policy Framework, published by the Treasury