Nairobi’s transport system will have to be augmented to cater for the growing demand that is projected to double by 2050.says Kimunya.
Speaking during the stakeholders final workshop on feasibility of Mass Rapid transport system in the Nairobi Metropolitan region, the Minister for Transport noted the importance of the sector towards socio-economic development, adding that the growing demand for the services calls for expansion especially in the urban areas.
“Nairobi accounts for about 30 per cent of of the countries economic activities,its therefore a focal point in driving Kenya to new industrialized and middle income economy,The Nairobi Metropolitan Region (NMR) serves a population of close to 7 million which is expected to rise to between 15 and 30 million by 2050, the demand for expansion and improvement of the sectors infrastructure continue overwhelming most urban regions of the world like Nairobi,”Said Kimunya.
While attributing the heavy traffic jam congestion within the CBD to the growing middle income population he said the rapid increase of private motor vehicles is an indication of a growing middle class.
Noting that the transport demand in the rail service is still low he said the Ministry has started to upgrade the train frequency levels to 90, 000 from a low of 19, 000 per day which will see commuters experiencing the services in comfortable coaches. This he said will be done in collaboration with the Ugandan Government.
“Part of this upgrade has already begun with interchange stations and a branch line to the Jomo kenyatta International Airport (JKIA),” he said.
He added : “The Governments of Kenya and Uganda are modernizing the the Kenya-Uganda Railway and the current narrow gauge will be replaced with a broader standard gauge, the rolling stock will be replaced by modern engines, wagons and coaches with a speed of 160 kilometer per hour for passenger trains.”
Kimunya said that adoption of ‘trunk’ and ‘feeder’ types of operation within the city will see the public realize affordable public transport services expressing optimism upon the completion and actualization of the study.
“It’s a high time for the public transport system within Nairobi to be re-organized into ‘trunk’ and ‘feeder’ type for the realisation of an effective transport system for the increasing commuter traffic,” he said.
At the same time the PS in the Ministry, Cyrus Njiru, reitereted that congestion will become a thing of the past as trains and buses will be dedicated special lanes while the heavy populated roads will have commuter trains.
“Areas experiencing characterised by heavy jams like Juja will have commuters,” he said.
Reacting to the worry of facing out of the 14 seater matatus,Njiru said that there is no cause to worry as the matter was solved following the call for the formation of saccos noting that Vehicle manufactures are experiencing an increase in orders for vehicles carrying more than 14 passengers everyday.
African Development Bank (AfDB) which has funded the study has said it will also fund the detailed design at a cost of 500 million shillings.
Major roads within Nairobi such as Nairobi-Thika Highway, Outering Road, Uhuru Highway, Haile selasie Mbagathi way, Langata Road and Waiyaki way are used on average by 80, 000 vehicles everyday, which is beyond their design capacity. According to the report.