Kenya will offer a private firm a 12-year concession to run bus rapid transport buses (BRT) on Thika and Mombasa roads to ease traffic in Nairobi.
Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority acting director-general Francis Gitau said the firm would run 300 BRT buses from next February — ending speculations on who will manage the buses.
The concessionaire, Mr Gitau said, would be a single firm or a group of companies in the transport sector.
The BRT system is one of the features in the planned Sh50 billion first double-decker road, which will involve building a dedicated lane for large-capacity buses to ease traffic congestion. The buses will also be deployed on the already-marked Thika Road and other highways in the city.
“BRT will be run through a transport service contract. A concession of about 12 years. The concession will be procured competitively. We are currently developing the request-for-proposal document,” Mr Gitau told the Business Daily last week.
The bus rapid transport system is designed to improve a city’s public transport network relative to conventional buses.
The government plans to launch six BRT corridors in Nairobi.
Priority corridors are the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Likoni, James Gichuru-Rironi and Bomas to Ruiru roads. Other motorways are Ngong Road, Juja, Mama Lucy, T-Mall and Balozi to Imara roads.
The corridors are expected to hold up to 950 high-capacity buses reducing travel time and cost by up to 70 percent.
“The buses carry between 90-100 passengers. About 37 passengers will be sitting while the rest will be standing,” said Mr Gitau.
Plans to establish a special purpose vehicle to manage the buses come barely two years after Kenya cut the import orders by half in favour of buying some from local assemblers. Kenya had planned to buy 64 BRT vehicles from South Africa but will now acquire 32 and the other half locally. The plans have been dropped.