The first batch of high-capacity buses to be deployed for the planned bus rapid transit (BRT) system in Nairobi are set to arrive in the country this month, Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia says.
Macharia says the 64 buses will arrive in the country from South Africa ahead of the rollout of five BRT corridors in Nairobi in a move aimed at reducing traffic congestion.
“We are in the process of acquiring the first batch of 64 BRT buses from South Africa. We are yet to establish the total amount of money we will spend on these buses but a BRT bus usually goes for Sh25 million,” says Macharia as quoted by the Daily Nation.
The five BRT corridors include Thika Superhighway, Limuru-Kangemi-CBD-Imara Daima –Athi River to Kitengela road as well as Rongai, Bomas-CBD-Ruiru-Thika- Kenol-Murang’a road and Tala-Njiru-Dandora–CBD-Ngong road.
“The fourth line will run from Mama Lucy Hospital-Donholm to the CBD while final line also referred as ‘Nyati’ will start from Ridgeways on Kiambu road to Balozi and end up in Imara Daima," says Macharia.
CS Macharia notes that the five corridors are expected to hold about 950 high-capacity buses thus reducing travel time and cost by up to 70 percent.
Macharia explains that the government decided to import the high-capacity vehicles from South Africa after local automobile assemblers failed to meet the required specifications.
“We are only acquiring the first batch from South Africa because the buses that were available did not conform to the KS-372- bodybuilding standards, but the rest will be sourced locally,” says Macharia.
However, local manufacturers have refuted the claims by the government, stating that they have the capacity to make the BRT buses.
“We have the capacity to supply BRT (Bus Rapid Transport) vehicles using the new bodybuilding standards, we simply don’t understand why the government is going for South Africa,” says Isuzu East Africa CEO Rita Kavashe.