Nairobi plans $4m expansion of urban transport network

Saturday May 14 2016

The Nairobi Mass Rapid Transit System Map.

The Nairobi Mass Rapid Transit System Map.  


Nairobi is planning to expand and upgrade its urban transport system if a $4 million budgetary proposal is adopted in the next financial year. The upgrade will include a bus tram service, new roads and railway lines linking the city to a number of satellite towns.

Last November, the director-general of public debt management at the Treasury, Jackson Kinyanjui, accepted the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure proposal for the allocation of the $4 million for the construction of a Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS).

The project will involve the construction of a commuter railway line along Outer Ring, Jogoo, Mombasa, Limuru, Lang’ata, and Ngong Roads and the Waiyaki Way corridor.

“We are pleased to inform you that Treasury has accepted the implementation of the project. We are looking forward to smooth implementation,” Mr Kinyanjui’s letter to Transport Permanent Secretary John Mosonik, copied to Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, reads.

The Nairobi county executive in charge of road and infrastructure, Mohammed Abdulahi, said they are now awaiting the allocation in the budget reading early next month.

“We have the designs ready. If we get the financing as expected, then we shall embark on its implementation,” Mr Mohammed said.


Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) is also seeking to upgrade its infrastructure in Nairobi by 2018, at a cost of $50 million.

KRC managing director Atanas Maina said they have started upgrading Ruiru station, with 20 other stations to be built or rehabilitated in Nairobi under a public private partnership.

“We have completed and tendered designs for another five stations. We expect to announce the winning tenders and start construction,” Mr Maina said.
Dagoretti, Kibera, Kikuyu, Dtonholm, Kahawa, Githurai and Lukenya are to get new stations.

Park and ride

Currently, Rift Valley Railways (RVR) operates the city’s train transport system under a one year concession. The company introduced the “park and ride” service to Syokimau, Makadara and Imara Daima residents.

RVR charges Ksh200 ($2) for a return trip that includes eight hour parking for the 20 kilometre train ride from Syokimau, while those from the two other stations pay Ksh150 ($1.47). The wagons, which have been rehabilitated allow for standing passengers, and are popular in the morning and evening when traffic is at its peak.

Tom Odongo, the Nairobi County executive in charge of planning, said that they have launched a masterplan that seeks to harmonise urban transport through the railway network.

“The masterplan proposes radial roads that will replace the interlink roads in the city. It proposes a railway to revamp Nairobi’s CBD by using the existing Kenya Railways land, and re-planning it for new developments,” Mr Odongo said.

Two years ago, the Nairobi county roads taskforce proposed that public service vehicles be barred from accessing the city centre. In its proposals, a satellite terminus was to be built at Globe Cinema roundabout in the city’s north, the Nyayo Stadium roundabout in the south, and stations at Uhuru Park and Ngong road in the west of the city.

The plan also proposed the creation of dedicated bus routes and lanes for public service vehicles that would be allowed into the city centre, and the construction of a rapid bus transit system to be used exclusively by special buses that would charge lower rates than other passenger service vehicles.

The project, under the Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, would have seen the construction of an eight-kilometre tram service connecting the Nairobi Railway Station with Ruai, Dagoretti Corner, Westlands, Kasarani and Kayole areas. However, nothing has been implemented on the proposals due to lack of funding and space to construct and expand these roads.