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Nyeri matatus to move to new Sh600million terminus

Commuters travelling long distances from Nyeri County will in the next two weeks be forced to board Public Service Vehicles (PSV) from the newly opened Field Marshal Muthoni Kirima bus terminus, 1.5 kilometres from the Nyeri Central Business District (CBD).

This comes after the county Department for Physical Planning and Urban Development announced a two-week timeline for the relocation of all major transport operations from the CBD to the ultra-modern bus park that was opened by President William Ruto on August 7.

On Wednesday, a multi-sectoral committee coordinating the relocation of traders and transport players from the Nyeri CBD allowed the PSVs to temporarily use the new terminus as a parking space as the county finalised the relocation exercise.

According to planning County Executive Committee Member Ndirangu Gachunia, who is also the chairman of the committee, the balloting for the 36 PSV Saccos is scheduled to take place on Monday next week, after which they will be given one week to relocate to the ultra-modern bus park.

“The PSVs are using the terminus as a temporary parking space. At the moment, we have allowed two vehicles per sacco in each of the three old bus termini as a way of easing the congestion due to a lack of sufficient parking space. We have agreed that instead of parking in the old bus stops, PSVs park their vehicles here and wait for their turn,” said Gachunia in an interview with KNA.

“We are going to reorganise the old bus termini and close some of them. We are also going to make provisions for a circulation stage in town where drivers can drop off passengers,” added the CEC.

The process of converting the Asian Quarter dumpsite into an ultra-modern bus terminus began in 2019. The bus terminus, which has been touted as one of the largest bus parks in the country, was put up at a cost of Sh600 million. It was financed through the World Bank-funded Kenya Urban Support Programme (KUSP) to the county governments in order to spur economic development through improved physical infrastructure development.

The facility features 240 matatu, bus, taxi, and tuk-tuk bays, 98 booking offices, 40 parking bays; 51 lorry bays; and 94 passenger waiting bays. The daily traffic in and out of the terminus is estimated at over 20,000 passengers.

The project was expected to ease traffic in the CBD, which is currently bursting at the seams with both humans and PSVs. But even after its completion in 2021, the ultramodern facility was yet to be occupied due to resistance by transport sector stakeholders.

“The main issue that has led to this delay by PSVs is that the CBD will be deserted. The other reason for resistance to the move was the inconvenience to customers because this is not the most central location and they will be forced to incur an extra cost to get to this new location, but it is too late to change,” said Gitahi Ndegwa, treasurer of 4NTE Sacco.

In addition, the park has 600 business stalls, five sanitation blocks, high-level water tanks, and a modern solid waste chamber. According to the Nyeri County Integrated Development Plan 2023–2027, the terminus will employ approximately 7,000 people on a daily basis. Gachunia clarified that despite the perceived lag in the process, the county government was keen on following the laid-down legal procedure during the exercise.

“We have finalised the procurement process for the stalls. The next step will be gazzetting the list of all successful applicants so that we can classify them into the different categories, and then we will announce balloting dates because it has to be done in public in a transparent manner,” said Gachunia.

By Wangari Mwangi

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