It has been more than one year since we started hearing about Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems launching in Nairobi. The systems have gained popularity in various cities across the world as cost-effective alternative to diesel buses and other urban transportation systems.
The other reasons for this phenomenon include its passenger and developer attractiveness, its high performance and quality, and its ability to be built quickly, incrementally, and economically. BRT also provides sufficient transport capacity to meet demands in many corridors, even in the largest metropolitan regions.
High-quality bus-based systems also better serve low-density settlement patterns of many urban areas due to their flexibility advantages over ordinary buses – and are the same vehicles that offer quick line-haul services on dedicated bus lane can turned into something else, which, in the Nairobi case, is a system for collecting and distributing customers on local streets.
These BRT buses were pitched as a system that will ease congestion on Thika Road, and Mombasa Road.
In 2021, and according to the Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, 300 BRT buses were to be deployed this February. If the plan proceeds as expected, then we will see the launch of six BRT corridors in the city that will accommodate up to 950 high-capacity buses in the long run.
Now, a report by Business Daily has established that the launch of the service will take place in June, 2022.
Managed by the Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, the city’s BRT system will be conducting a pilot from June before commercial launch.
The test will see passengers take a trip from Kasarani all the way to Kenyatta Hospital for KES 150. A two-vehicle trip costs KES 30 less. The fares will be adjusted according to distance covered when the system goes fully commercial.
That corridor will also supplement another one that will run from Kenol to Ongata Rongai. A total of six corridors are expected to be built, including one that will run from Juja to Ngong Road and Mama Lucy to T-Mall.
Priority corridors for now are the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Likoni, James Gichuru-Rironi and Bomas to Ruiru roads.
Digitized toll card
At the same time, passengers using BRT buses will need a special toll card to use the service. The card will be topped up with points. When they need to take a trip, they will tap the card on a terminal before travelling to their destination.
The cards will be topped up via M-PESA paybill number, among other channels.
This follows the same model that will be used on the Expressway, where motorists will be required to have a special toll card to use the road.