Chaos mar fourth Green Park test run

Thursday, June 23rd, 2022 08:44 | By
Commuters walk out of the Green Park terminus. PHOTO/Courtesy

Confusion and traffic jams dominated the fourth test run at Green Park terminus yesterday morning.

Police had been stationed at the Bunyala roundabout where they diverted public service vehicles (PSVs) towards Upper Hill.

Only private and heavy commercial vehicles were permitted to access Uhuru Highway from the roundabout.

Yesterday’s test run was meant for PSVs from Rongai, Kiserian, Ngong, Karen, Langata, Nairobi West/Madaraka, Kibera, Kawangware, Dagoretti/Satellite, Kilimani, Highrise/Ngumo and Kikuyu.

Commuters and PSV stakeholders accused the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) of punishing Kenyans with a project that, they said, cannot meet its purpose of decongesting the city.

The test run was the last before the terminus is officially opened.

Cost more

Commuters said the project cannot work, saying previous test runs had been similarly chaotic.

Many commuters, particularly the disabled and the old, said the terminus would make their lives difficult.

“I use crutches for my movement. They have dropped me here and they expect me to walk all the way to KICC where I work,” said Victor Wamae who lives with a disability.

Rachel Wangari, a trader at Gikomba Market, said  it would cost her more and take her longer to reach her place of work.

“I have been dropped here and now I have to look for another means of transport to reach Gikomba. This means I will have to spend more money,” said an annoyed Wangari.

Boda boda operators took the opportunity to ferry commuters to the city centre.

To enter the central business district, commuters from the terminus have to cross the busy Uhuru Highway right after the Haile Selassie roundabout.

With traffic police controlling the flow of vehicles, the commuters from the terminus appeared abandoned with no traffic marshal to help them cross the busy road.

Once matatus drop passengers, they exit the terminus and use a dedicated lane on Uhuru Highway to Kenyatta Avenue-Uhuru Highway roundabout where they join Valley Road.

Matatu Owners Association chairman Simon Kimutai described the project as a scam.

“This is a white elephant. They never even involved us during the conceptualisation of the idea. It will never work,” said Kimutai.

NMS Transport Director Michael Ochieng, however, dismissed Kimutai’s remarks, saying they had developed plans to address congestion at the terminus.

He said no vehicle will be allowed to take more than 20 minutes at the park.

Ochieng added that they had dedicated some lanes to ensure the movement of matatus in and out of Green Park does not affect traffic flow on the roads.

“That is why we have put a time limit of 20 minutes so that when you get in you are allocated just that time to drop and pick passengers irrespective of whether the vehicle is full or not,” he said.

Less travel time

The Sh250 million Green Park is part of the Nairobi Integrated Urban Development Master Plan that seeks to ensure a reliable and efficient transport system.

NMS director-general Mohammed Badi said it aims to decongest the CBD, reduce travel time, improve commuter experiences and encourage the use of public transport.

Green Park is among six termini being set up by NMS following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive in March 2020.

The others include Desai, Park Road, Ladhies-Muthurwa, Fig Tree terminus and Bunyala-Workshop Road.

More on News