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Home Africa Build Kenyan, Buy South African. Kenya At Crossroads Over Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
Africa - Business - News - January 3, 2019

Build Kenyan, Buy South African. Kenya At Crossroads Over Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

Kenyans question why government decided to import high capacity buses from South Africa yet it can build them locally

NAIROBI (Blacquire) – Resentment builds in the East African nation after the government decides to procure rapid transit buses from South Africa. The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system has delayed for years. However, Kenya set to build buses that it supplies to neighbour Tanzania, where BRT is a huge success in reducing traffic.

Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS)

In 2015, the government of Kenya continued with serious plans to launch the Mass Rapid Transit System to de-congest the capital city of Nairobi. The rail and road system was set to be a great and final solution to the city’s public transportation chaos. It would make movement within the city easier and less stressful. Millions of people come in and out of the city daily. The budget at the time was set to be in the region of 100 billion Kenya shillings.

Dedicated lanes

An article by the Standard Newspaper shared the details of the system;

The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, which will dominate the first phase of the project set to be on top gear in 2017, will have five interconnected lines named after Kenya’s Big Five animals; Ndovu (elephant), Simba (lion), Chui (leopard), Kifaru (rhino) and Nyati (buffalo). They will be used by buses to ferry commuters to all key city suburbs.

European Union (EU) Grant

In November 2018, the project got a boost from the EU after receiving a Sh5 billion grant to assist in the completion of the infrastructure.

President Uhuru Kenyatta had launched the project in 2015 but it had paused due to lack of funding to buy the high capacity buses.

Stefano Dejak, the EU Ambassador to Kenya, said the funds would develop and maintain the BRT infrastructure for three years.

Tanzania Gets Its BRT Buses From Kenya

The government of Tanzania hired bus body builder Labh Singh Harnam Singh (LSHS) to make its BRT buses. Tanzania, initially purchased their buses from China, but now has turned to LSHS for their buses as the company has more than 70-years experience in the industry. A look at Tanzania BRT system shows significant reduction in traffic since the government introduced the buses.

Kenya Decides To Import Buses From South Africa

I sent my Principal Secretary to negotiate transactions for the purchase of the buses in South Africa. If all goes according to plan, the first batch will arrive by the end of June.

Kenya’s Transport Cabinet Secretary, James Macharia

To show that the government may also work with local assemblers, Mr. Macharia said that they had engaged with ISUZU East Africa to supply the next batch. Overall, the government intents to have 900 high-capacity buses operating in the city circuit and its environs.

Kenyans Give Their Views On Twitter

Government says that local buses did not conform to the KS-372 standard

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