The Mombasa government is planning to introduce the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system to decongest the city.
Transport executive Tawfiq Balala said consultants have been engaged to develop the route plan for the system.
“We are planning in-house before engaging a permanent consultant. We have had meetings with some of them to see how best the system can work,” said Mr Balala.
He said that among the consultants is the one who did the rapid transit system study for Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam.
Mr Balala said that before the end of Governor Hassan Joho’s second term in 2022, the first phase of the system will have been put in place.
The first phase will see four buses assigned to the main junction leading to the Central Business District (CBD)
Mr Balala said preliminary plans are for the main road from Buxton to the CBD to be turned into a single lane for the buses.
This will mean that the six lanes that the Mombasa CBD’s main road has on both sides will be turned into one.
The executive said it will take seven minutes for the buses to move through the entire CBD, meaning less travel time for commuters.
Most of the residents use Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) which take up to 30 minutes to move through the city centre.
“This will work better than having a train system. We have seen the BRT work very well in countries such as Brazil and Columbia where it was first introduced . We will have a bus that will carry about 100 passengers at a go,” said Mr Balala.
Asked about the economic effect on matatu operators, Mr Balala said they will be among stakeholders who will largely be involved in the implementation of the new system.
“All the problems that you see in Mombasa, in terms of congestion, were not caused by the public transport system as most people think. They were caused by private vehicles which are the biggest enemy [in the fight against] congestion. It will be easier for us to engage matatu owners,” he said.
The system is to later be extended past the island, to Likoni, Changamwe and Kisauni sub-counties.
Mr Balala rejected proposals by matatu owners for the expansion of the roads in the CBD.
“The island has no space so we cannot expand roads. That will mean focus on serving a small group of people and leaving out the majority,” he said.
He noted that in Mombasa, three per cent of the population owns vehicles while 97 per cent are pedestrians.
— mic (@MicahMula) September 19, 2018