The decision by the Nairobi Governor,Mike Mbuvi Sonko, to effect the Gazette Notice 4479 of 12th May 2017, to effectively ban Public Transport Vehicles from the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) was set to fail.

 An estimated 70% of Nairobi’s four million residents rely roughly on 20,000 privately owned mini-buses as their main means of transportation.

 In strict terms, Matatus are far much less than the number of private cars on the road. This explains why the amount of traffic was unbearable on the day the ban was effected. This was a repeat of a situation we saw back on 2003 the day the ‘Michuki rules’ were put in force. The entire city was at a grid lock.

This begs the question: Do Matatus really cause congestion? Story for another day…

 The Matatu industry needs a working system in place first before the ban takes effect. The government needs to improve transportation by reforming public transport. It must reevaluate its strategies in dealing with the Matatu outlay in the country. Recent efforts point to the government targeting the legal framework to eradicate the chaos within the industry.

The solution lies in introducing an organized transport system that invests in road infrastructure, the security measures of the commuters and in taming the unruly operators in the Matatu industry.

According to Anthony Ndirangu, Research Director at Research 8020, the Matatu ban is a move in the right direction but it should be planned.

 “There is no transport system put into place with conclusive plans. The government should focus on improving how Matatu systems are structured.”

One way the government can ensure Matatu ban stays effective is by;

  1. Conducting a feasibility study to establish the number of matatus, map out the drop zones and hypothesize the likely challenges that would come with the ban and put in measures to address these challenges
  2. Involve all key stakeholders,the ban will not be successful without involving the traffic police, the matatu operators and the commuters themselves.

The public has raised some valid concerns. Issues such as security, safety and designated pedestrian walk ways cannot be wished away. These are real concerns that require real solutions else the Governor can expect backlash from the electorate.

“Another key consideration is that the matatu ban will have an adverse effect on the businesses that are located‘downtown’ that rely entirely on the foot traffic created by the existing drop off points.” Says Ndirangu.  

 Want to do a feasibility study? Contact us today: ask@research8020.com or +254 780 208020.

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