After decades of getting choked and stuck in traffic, Kenya has had enough and has borrowed a leaf from Tanzania's smart bus-rapid transit
In 2016, Dar es Salaam became the first city in to implement a bus-rapid transit system, a feat that saw Tanzania awarded 2017 Sustainable Transport Award.
Unlike her neighbours, Tanzania has special lanes dedicated to high capacity buses so that they don’t get stuck in traffic, making Dar es Salaam, a city of five million, is one of the fastest growing cities in the world.
Bus-rapid transit, or BRT, is a form of mass transit that uses buses to move passengers in a fashion similar to metro or light-rail systems.
They often feature also stations where passengers can pay their fare before getting on board.
In Kenya though, things are very different, chaotic and a health hazard.
So bad Kenya’s traffic jam that Kenyans spend 40 days in a year just sitting in traffic, the cost to the economy is enormous and according to the government, time wasted in traffic jams represents a cost of $578,000 (Sh58.4 million) a day and $210 million (Sh2.1billion) a year in lost productivity.
At least five million Kenyans living in major urban centres are directly exposed to toxic emissions, mainly from motor vehicles, industries and kerosene, according to the Ministry of Environment.
Of these, at least, 14,000 Kenyans die annually from pollution-related illnesses such as respiratory ailments.
This is set to change though; Ministry of Transport has announced buses will soon also have their special lanes.
Transport CS James Macharia Thursday said his ministry will dedicate one lane on the two sides of Thika Superhighway to reduce time spent on the road by commuters.
Thika Superhighway and Mombasa Road are currently undergoing major changes in a move coordinated by Kenya National Highways Authority (KenHa) that will see buses have special lanes and ease transport services.
“We would like to alert members of the public on the ongoing road marking along Thika Superhighway and Mombasa Road, the inner most lanes will be marked red and dedicated to high capacity buses,” reads notice from KeNHA.
Through the coordination of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, the innermost lanes on the two roads will be marked red and will be dedicated to buses carrying over 80 passengers.
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