Mohammed Hersi an expert in transport and tourism sector has given his opinion over the use of Nairobi Expressway. This comes a day after Caroline Mutoko said that Matatu should not be allowed to use the road.
His opinion reads:
“Nairobi Expressway & PSVs read Matatus.
I have seen as usual Kenyans with knee-jerk calls to ban matatus from the Expressway. I will not be surprised if the decision makers listened to them hence my post.
Firstly stopping PSVs from accessing the Expressway in itself is discriminatory and I don’t support it.
Let me take you back way before the Expresssay was even mooted I had supported a light sky train way back in 2010, 2014 like what Addis did and what Bangkok has always had but that never happened . I was impressed with Bangkok with what I saw in 2006 hence a skytrain would have been magic.
Fast forward at some forum we were informed that a BRT line has been included in the Nairobi Expressway. As construction progressed in several forums I again raised the clear absence of a BRT only to be told that the BRT will now be on the ground floor along the old line hence the new contract. Simply put I was lied to. Well that is now water under the bridge and it is what it is so what next?
Moving the masses is the sure way to kill traffic gridlock and not a highway for a few cars. I have used it the Expressway and it is a breeze but we must also factor in public means using the highway in absence of BRT as earlier explained.
1. We must encourage PSV to use the Expressway. PSV’s move numbers and in the process more Nairobians will get to work on time and they will also get home in time to be with their loved ones. No one deserves to sit in traffic all evening or wake up at 4am if you live in Athi River or Machakos.
What is the use for senior management to get to work because they drive while the majority of the workers are still struggling through traffic having woken up at 4am even when they get to their place of work they are so tired and sick.
2. While I advocate for PSVs to use the Expressway, not all matatus are made of mad people . Sometimes back I sat on the board of an insurance company that mainly served PSVs hence I had the opportunity to understand how the SACCOS work. The matatu owners are not some weed smoking lunatics, these are serious men and women. These are investors in fact I sold to them the idea of buying the train coaches if we had a sky train or invest in BRTs if the road had a BRT line and they were eager to do it. Surely Dar have a BRT what is the big deal .Virgin trains don’t own any line you lease the line .
These matatu onwers they are the ones who came up with self regulation through SACCOS. They were ready to pay the price for indiscipline by one of their own . I recall 600 matatus in Nyandarua and Nyeri all being suspended because of two serious accidents.
You tell me which other industry has ever shown such commitment in dealing with a messy situation? PSVs did it and I have tremendous respect for Chairman Simon Kimutai. Albert Karakacha. Murunga. Obadiah Kavivya. Mungai and our CEO then Cliff Otieno .
Moja Expressway Company should engage the Matatu Owners Association and they vet the drivers who will use the Expressway. Once NTSA bans Embasava for the Monday night accident trust me Embasava officials will ensure only drivers who are thinking straight will take the highway and even other roads . The moment the pain is felt in the pocket SACCOS know what hurts them , no one would like to lose money.
Calls to ban PSVs is knee-jerk reaction and this Kenya belongs to all of us and it is our duty to ensure that we accommodate everyone but ensure rules are followed to the letter .
I have made contacts with my old friends in the Matatu industry to encourage them to meet the Moja Expressway team and strike a win win deal and more so get only compliant drivers on that expressway. I am sure the Matatu owners and Saccos will walk the talk.
As a tourism player the highway has helped us big time for clients headed to and from the Airport as they visit Kenya hence we want a safe highway.
One more time I repeat let us move rhe masses on the Expressway every Kenyans deserves to get home in time after a hard day’s work.
3. To Matatu drivers and those Ben 10s the Expressway is not some video game. This is real and you will get killed if you are reckless. Sadly you ain’t alone in the process you will put many more lives at risk . NTSA . Matatu Owners Association and Moja Expressway will vet each one of you so that those bad characters don’t find their way on the Expressway.
4. To the passengers in those PSVs. You ain’t goods , you are a soul, a father , mother, a true human being with a bright future. Why do you remain silent when some pea brained dimwit is out to kill you …..Toa Sauti and stand your ground . Silence on your part is part of the problem. Surely an adult sitting terrified as a mad driver zooms like he is practicing for the next formula one race , speak up and if need be as passengers let one of you commandeer the bus and handover the bus at the next police stop or toll station. These applies across all our roads . Treasure you own life .
Well good people in Kenya we like complicating matters and worst part is excuses galore why something is not working .
5.While the Expressway may not be 100% perfect designwise I think the big design flaw is in our mindset and this includes private cars as well who drive at 100+kmh breaking all the rules of speed limit . Introduce instant heavy fine say 20K or surrender the car and every day the car is detained you pay Ksh2000 storage fees. You will see discipline overnight.
As always yours truly is choosing to remain an optimist . I will be happy to hear from you and your thoughts”