Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) has said plans to relocate public service vehicles (PSVs) from the city centre will begin before the end of next month.
First to be affected will be matatus plying Ngong, Lang’ata and Argwings Kodhek roads and long-distance vehicles from Mt Kenya.
The Green Park, Desai and Park Road termini will be the first to open as part of efforts to decongest the city centre.
NMS Transport and Public Works Director Michael Ochieng said the three are expected to start operating before the end of April.
The Sh250 million Green Park terminal is 98 percent complete while the other two, meant for long-distance PSVs from the Mt Kenya region that now terminate at Tea Room and Accra Road, were completed more than a year ago.
The two terminals can accommodate 160 vehicles at once and process up to 600 vehicles per hour.
On the other hand, Green Park has a capacity to hold between 300 and 350 vehicles at once, processing about 1,000 PSVs per hour and up to 20,000 per day.
The terminal will serve as a pick-up and drop-off point for matatus from Ngong, Karen, Rongai, Kikuyu, Dagoretti, Kawangware, Kibra, Highrise, Ngumo, Langata, Nairobi West, Makadara, Kaberia, Satellite and Kiserian.
These are matatus plying Raila Odinga Way and Ngong, Lang’ata Argwings Kodhek, Bunyala and Lusaka roads.
This means all matatus using the Railway, Hakati, Tom Mboya Street and Moi Avenue stages from Agro House to Development House and plying the routes above will move to Green Park.
Three test runs had been conducted at Green Park, with the first leading to improvements at exit points and the second at pickup and exit points, and the last in the terminal’s operations.
The other termini include Fig Tree, Muthurwa, Globe Roundabout and one at the junction of Bunyala and Workshop roads.
“The change we are making in this city in terms of traffic to decongest it has been done in other parts of the world and it must be done in Kenya too. We must take the lead in East Africa to show that we are able to manage our public transport,” Mr Ochieng said.
He explained that terminals will be digitally controlled, with vehicles electronically captured on a billboard that will show its number plate and route.
Touting will not be allowed at Green Park, with only three matatus per sacco allowed at a time and a maximum of 20 minutes to drop off and pick up passengers. Traffic marshals from the county and traffic police will maintain law and order.
“CCTVs will also help in not only securing the park but also in enhancing transparency. The time a vehicle arrives at the park and when it exits will be captured electronically. Passengers will be guided by a public address system and huge information boards already mounted at the park,” he said.
PSVs using Langata Road will have two options of accessing Green Park. The first will be using the T-Mall roundabout to Raila Odinga Way through the City Mortuary roundabout before joining Ngong Road and then down to the Kenya National Library and NHIF area and eventually accessing Green Park through a dedicated lane.
The second alternative will see matatus go to Nyayo Stadium before joining Uhuru Highway to the Bunyala roundabout and then to Lower Hill Road to join Haile Selassie Avenue and make a U-turn to enter Green Park.
PSVs plying Argwings Kodhek Road will come up to the Silver Springs Hotel roundabout before turning right to the terminal.
Non-motorised transport corridors have been constructed for safe pedestrian movement into and out of the terminal, and traffic marshals will be deployed at crossing points.
Superintendent Boniface Otieno, seconded from the National Police Service to NMS and dealing with traffic matters, said several pedestrian walkways have been designed to connect Green Park to the city centre.
The first option is crossing Uhuru Highway near Parliament buildings and onto Haile Selassie Avenue.
The others are using Harambee Avenue or the Uhuru Highway-City Hall Way junction or a pedestrian crossing at the Nyayo House roundabout.
The Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) is also building an underpass near Haile Selassie Avenue to help pedestrians cross.
“It has been designed based on underlying numbers and projected numbers which were captured when the trial runs were done. We expect it to work efficiently and offer the safety that is required,” said Kenha engineer Stanley Mwawasi.
Commuters who do not wish to walk to the city centre will be picked up by a 66-seater city link shuttle bus, with priority given to special groups. Six such buses will be used in the initial stages and increased according to demand.
The buses are fitted with wheelchair, trolley ramp, air conditioner and infotainment systems, as well as automatic doors and sturdy grab handles for standing passengers.
“The user-friendly buses, with a capacity of 36 seated and 30 standing passengers, will be plying Green Park and city centre up to Country Bus. The fare to be paid is still being negotiated but will be pocket-friendly and trolley services will be provided,” said NMS head of transport administration Martin Eshiwani.
In addition, taxis and boda bodas will be provided space adjacent to Chrisco Church. They are expected to use the same exit lane to leave the terminus just like PSVs.