The Mombasa County government is seeking national government support to set up a bus rapid transport (BRT) system.
County officials said they need Sh1 billion to roll out the system.
“If Mombasa is given Sh1 billion we will have a BRT system. We need the government’s support to do it,” said Transport, Infrastructure and Public Works executive Tawfiq Balala.
BRT is a high-quality bus-based transit system that delivers fast, comfortable and cost-effective services at metro-level capacities through dedicated lanes.
Mr Balala said 52 percent of residents walk to their destinations, four percent cycle, 33 rely on public transport while 11 percent use private transport.
The BRT, he said, will ease traffic jams in the tourism hub.
“BRT is the best system for easing traffic in major cities. When you go to first-world countries, you see everybody, including the rich, use public transport…. When we set up BRT, those with private vehicles will … eventually leave their vehicles at home to use BRT,” he said.
Speaking at a workshop with transport stakeholders from Kisumu, Nairobi and Mombasa counties, the executive said BRT must be prioritised.
In July, the national government said it was eyeing 60 high-capacity electric vehicles to be delivered by the end of the year for Nairobi.
The Tanzanian government rolled out BRT in Dar es Salaam in 2016 to ease traffic.
The high-capacity public transport system with modern buses runs on exclusive lanes at the centre of major roads.
But some players in the sector oppose BRT, saying it will drive them out of business.
Matatu Owners Association Coast coordinator Salim Mbarak said Mombasa does not need a BRT system. He said BRT will be expensive.
“Our roads are very narrow. We will have to expand them,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Balala urged road agencies, including the Kenya Rural Roads Authority, to collaborate with counties in road construction to avert calamities.
He cited the Buxton footbridge, which was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2017 and was funded by the World Bank, as a danger to pedestrians.
“The mistake they made is encroaching on the footpath, so pedestrians have to walk on the road to cross. I fought for it so hard. I did not succeed, because it involved the President,” he said, calling it the biggest road disaster in Mombasa.
“I lost that war but nobody informed the President that the thing was a failure because it endangers pedestrians due to lack of a pedestrian walk.”
He said the overhead footpath is a danger to pedestrians.
The Buxton footbridge, the first to be erected in Mombasa, was launched on January 5, 2017 by President Kenyatta and cost about Sh600 million.
When President Kenyatta commissioned the footbridge, he said it would ensure safety for pedestrians.