Each day we walk, drive and board buses in silent fear. Who knows where the next siren will sound and lives lost. It is a scare that is killing our economy. Our breath is held by terror clip. I am left wondering who is a terrorist or why clear lives of innocent blood!
It is hard for families that have lost loved ones through this difficult cloud of terror. The world is full of things, good and bad. But my heart is not weary of the worst. For there is always an equal measure of goodness about to happen. Kenyans have built their economy with minimum natural resources. The dawn of oil in Turkana will not mean reversed era. We will not stop to hold up our national responsibility because of peace of our sisters and brothers in Somali.
The WestgatE terror incident united us – WeAreOne. Subsequent terrors at Thika road, Gikomba market, Likoni Church and many more places will leave us standing strong. Unfortunately, some of us have opted war than peace to reign for Africa’s emerging economy.
Where is this driving us to? An article by CityLab recently found that insecurity on streets of Cairo contributed to more traffic congestion. Nairobi and other cities will they be forced to adopt home workers or cycling to work – at least safer.
“It is possible to provide security against other ills, but as far as death is concerned, we men live in a city without walls.” – Epicurus quotes (Greek philosopher, BC 341-270)
Matatu New Era
Exactly a month ago and we woke up to new matatu rules that will revolutionise this private held sector. Kenya similar to any african government we struggle with lasting implementation. Kudos to new regime with new rules but how far will we burn our oil. Forget the new matatu rules, the smart bus idea is brilliant of all!
Maybe we should call them green buses. We all know about smart bus but nothing about its retirement. Our guess o its missing on our roads would lean towards unsuccessful execution. With Nairobi county government showing political divide into this noble idea. A bus that will see most commuters pay only Kshs 35 to and fro their estates. It will bring dream reality sanity in this man-eat-man society. It is not only affordable bus that we campaign for. The use of paperless travel idea; the smart cards and swipe on the go. Its sustainability will not be doomed so long as the management sets a is proper operations framework at an early stage.
An in depth study on similar ideas in developing cities such as Curitiba in Brazil, Delhi in India, Manila in Philippines and not to mention Lagos in Nigeria, reveals how these cities have robust infrastructure to fully sustain this idea. Commonly known as Bus Rapid Transit is what is missing here in Nairobi as illustrated below.
Courtesy of BRT- Report. Source: ITDP & GIZ, 2012
You may argue of Thika Super highway but do we have bus right-of-way roads to reduce delays. This is a key factor to encourage most middle income earners onto the bus and leave their cars at home. Imagine, if 200 buses of sixty-seater capacity that could be nearly 4,000 private cars off Nairobi’s congested roads. Transport related pollution is concern too as heads of state deliberated on Climate Action in Abu Dhabi.
This will contribute to a green city under the sun. Our carbon emissions from transport sector will be capped at 2.8tons or below by 2025. Congestion, traffic delays that cost our economy and reduce human capital productivity hours at work will be history. We need to board the green bus and enjoy green economy of East Africa’s largest city.
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I dread rains especially the sudden downpour when there was sweat sunshine hours ago. In this tropical country who would want wet weather throughout the year. Not only do humans in this country avoid rain but also their carriages are adversely affected. I recall one legendary singer who sang that Nairobians fear rain more than cars on the road.
He was correct. Think of rain and you start running for a shelter – may be stopping/cancelling all day’s business plans. Media house would have another story to cover that evening. With headlines of “Transport has been paralyzed in many parts of Nairobi following a sudden heavy downpour this afternoon”. Even the gorvernor would agree that many of the city’s roads are rendered impassable leading to heavy traffic just because of drop of water from the sky. This situation adversely impacts transport and commutters are always stranded in the town Centre.
My recent encounter was on the superhighway. Barely two years after completion of Thika. It is seems to be a no go zone with heavy downpour in our city. This Thika superhighway was heavily flooded and if you drove a vitz – lucky if you went through the sea on our superhighway.
Just few minutes of rain renders Thika Superhighway impassable. Motorist reduce their speeds to near zero, as the water fills the road. It is a superwaterway maybe and not a highway. I almost gave a tick to this completed road but drainage has left me the opposite. The authority has neglected the drains despite the Chinese doing a commendable work. More blame is direct towards us, some residents fill drains with garbage and all form of plastic. When it rains, water is therefore left with nowhere to go, but to fill the road. Lets stop this, think global while acting locally.
Steps to green future