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Transport Stakeholders want emergency medical centres, police posts

Stakeholders in the transport sector in Nyeri town have asked the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) to ensure that adequate road safety facilities such as emergency medical centres and police posts form part of the road station amenities, should the Kenya Roads (Roadside Station) Regulations of 2023 be approved.

They say that whereas emphasis has been put on the provision of rest facilities for long-distance drivers and passengers, similar attention has not been accorded to the safety and security of the vehicles undertaking the journey.

“We need to be specific about road safety because at the moment road carnage is the biggest challenge that we have. I would propose that the regulations specify the type of medical services they can provide besides first aid and also if possible we should have inspections by traffic police to ascertain whether or not a driver is in the right state to proceed with the journey or they should rest,” said Bora Guyo.

The stakeholders were speaking during a public participation forum at the Ruring’u Youth Empowerment Centre on the Roads (Roadside Station) Regulations of 2023.

During the session, KeNHA was also put on task to explain what the agency was doing to ensure that the proposed road stations are friendly to people living with disabilities.

Daniel Kagema, a visually impaired man, wondered if there would be a penalty for any developer who might deny those living with disabilities the right to utilize the stations.

“My question is if there is a penalty or any action that can be taken against that developer for failing to ensure that the stations are user-friendly for PWDs. Also what action will be taken against able-bodied people who encroach on such facilities?” Posed Kagema.

Other considerations that the stakeholders want KeNHA to factor in include amenities for boda boda riders, changing rooms and breastfeeding rooms for mothers.

“I would like to urge KeHNA or the developers who will construct the stations to build rooms, where mothers will be able to breastfeed their children and change their diapers comfortably. This is because some people are so judgmental when they see mothers nurse or change their children openly,” said Joash Juma.

The draft regulations propose the construction of roadside stations which shall operate on a 24-hour basis. The roadside stations will provide various services to travellers using long-distance roads. Part three of the Roads (Roadside Station) Regulations of 2023 has listed hand washing points, free, clean and adequate sanitation facilities, and garbage disposal points as some of the facilities that anyone seeking to set up a road station must adhere to.

The second schedule of the draft regulations provides for three categories of road stations. According to KeNHA’s assistant director, Engineer William Aketch, the authority will be banking on private-public partnerships to help set up the stations on all major roads. He said the first pilot road stations under the new regulations will be constructed on the Northern corridor which spans from Mombasa to the Malaba border post.

“The regulations intend to ensure that there is sanity and control in terms of development along the national corridor of our roads. We have been able to get a lot of insightful comments which will go a long way in enhancing the document,” said Eng Aketch.

“We want people to travel from point A to point B in a dignified manner and most importantly to ensure that there is road safety,” he added.

Members of the public who would like to give their views have been urged to present a written memorandum to KeNHA regional offices or channel their views through d.prc@kenha.go.ke  before September 29.

By Wangari Mwangi and Leah Omeri

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