Senators want emergency service providers such as ambulances and fire engines to be exempted from paying toll charges on the expressway.
Speaking in the House on Tuesday, the senators said the aim of the highway was to ease congestion in Nairobi for better delivery of services. They said it does not make sense if those who need urgent medical attention in hospitals are charged for using the road.
The toll charges range between Sh120 and Sh360, depending on the class of the vehicle and the distanced covered.
In a request for a statement from the management of the expressway, Senator Iman Falhada wants those offering emergency services to be given a free pass to save lives.
“The management should reconsider toll fees for emergency service providers. The aim was to ease traffic congestion in the city so that services can be rendered in good time,” she said.
Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei added: “The expressway should be used free of charge when there is an emergency and somebody is being rushed to hospital. These are ordinary people.”
The senator faulted the designers of the road for not putting enough exit routes, especially those entering the central business district (CBD).
A fire incident
“If somebody from Machakos or Mlolongo is being rushed to hospital, there should be an exit along Uhuru Highway so that the ambulance can exit either to Nairobi Hospital or Kenyatta National Hospital. If there is a fire incident at Gikomba market, staff of the station in Mlolongo should be able to access the city through the expressway,” Mr Cherargei said.
Nominated Naomi Waqo said since Nairobi normally experiences traffic congestion, the expressway can be used to rush the ill to hospital.
“Nairobi is well known for traffic jams, especially during the rush hour. We need to save our people without over-charging them,” she said.
Nominated Senator Naomi Shiyonga said there is need for re-design of the road since many medical emergency cases are taken to the KNH and Nairobi Hospital, yet there is no exit.
“The design of the expressway does not allow us to exit directly into the CBD and Parliament. We must go all the way to Museum Hill,” she said.
Last month, Infrastructure Principal Secretary Paul Maringa told the National Assembly Transport Committee that the expressway will be re-designed with the works expected to end between three to six months. The work is, however, yet to start, one month later.