Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja has never shied away from expressing his dislike for the tumultuous Nairobi transport system.
In a sit-down with Kenyans.co.ke, the outspoken Nairobi politician disclosed that a plan that cost Ksh300 million had been in the pipeline but its implementation seems to have hit a snug.
The plan included having a heavy-duty train from Thika Road towards Ngong and another one from Waiyaki Way down Mombasa Road.
He further noted that the train would be supplemented by overpasses including the Nairobi Expressway that is currently under construction at a cost of Ksh65 billion.
“There was an entire proper plan for Nairobi Transport which needs to be done. We need to have a heavy-duty train that comes all the way from Thika Road down to Ngong. We need to have another from Waiyaki way down Mombasa Road.
“Once you have done those two, with the new overpass going to the airport (Jomo Kenyatta International Airport) and a radio that goes around the city. The plans are there and we spent Ksh300 million to do it. The Japanese gave us Ksh200 million Nairobi City Council gave us Ksh100 million,” stated Sakaja.
“Just implement that and traffic jams will be forgotten. We will have a more holistic solution. We will have cyclists and bus lanes,” he added.
He further revealed that when Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko banned Matatu’s from accessing the CBD in December 2018, he moved to court because no solutions had been offered.
He highlighted instances in elderly people and children, some of whom were seeking medical services, had to walk for long distances due to the matatu ban.
“When Governor Mike Sonko banned matatus, I went to court because he had not provided the alternative. I remember seeing a pregnant woman dropped before Globe (roundabout) walking,” he added.
Sakaja, instead, suggests that if matatus get kicked out of the CBD, the alternative could be a free bus service within the CBD that could get individuals from one stage to the next.
Drawing inspiration from other established cities like New York, the Senator argued that since commuters would have paid for transport from their estates - the connecting rides within the CBD should be made free.
Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) extended the deadline for matatus accessing CBD to Monday, December 14 after the initial date was set at December 1.
The extension was issued to allow for the completion of the Green Park terminus which is currently under construction.
The Green Park terminus is set to serve matatus plying Ngong Road and Lang’ata Road (Kawangware, Kikuyu, Kibera, Lang’ata, Rongai, Kiserian).
In his interview, Sakaja also disclosed that he successfully instituted changes in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) that had made NMS a permanent entity.
Sakaja argued that the entity had been constituted to serve for 24 months and noted that its implementation was necessitated by the failed Nairobi County Government which may not be the case for the incoming government.