Time is money in the city! Nairobians need an efficient transport system

Friday September 25 2020

A section of Thika Road, Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG


The early bird catches the worm they say, but for many, they wake up early because it is not by choice but necessity. One can only wake up so early for so long.

Covid-19 definitely eased traffic in Kenya. There are two main factors that contribute to the amount of traffic in Nairobi— when it raining or schools open.

Population growth leads to our cities attracting people from rural areas or towns looking for a better living. Thus we should expect more vehicles on roads in future.

During the early days of coronavirus, we enjoyed less traffic than usual. Traffic is beginning to pick up but not to the levels that we were used to last year.

This year has been different for motorists. Before Covid-19, those living in Nairobi’s suburb’s but working in the Central Business District, would leave their homes by 5am to ensure that they are in the city in 30 minutes or less.

After 6am one can be in traffic for an hour or two. Imagine wasting two hours to get to work in the morning, then another two hours in the evening.


Four hours a day, 20 hours in a week of five days is enough time to write an entire autobiography , specifically those thick bound ones that are too heavy to be held with one hand.

As densely populated Nairobi is, it is shocking that we do not have a proper transport system or that we are still waiting for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, when neighbouring countries have much more organised transport. But why don’t Nairobian’s seem to think that they deserve more for their taxes and that their time is valuable. Remember time is money.

Matatus are often driven recklessly, and many are jalopies that shouldn’t be on our road’s in the first place.

As a people we have been scarred by the number of corruption deals in the country that when people talk about the BRT they simply refer to it as a scandal in the making, expecting millions of shillings to be lost in the project, especially knowing that it is a project that is to cost more that $15 million.

Two years on, and the only sign we see of BRT buses about to arrive is a red line painted on the Thika super highway, which makes absolutely no sense since it is in the inner most lane, and no stages have been set for people to enter the bus or alight.

Sometimes the Nairobi commuter train does not run on schedule, meaning there’s no incentive to use it.

And due to that, Nairobians will continue to endure traffic snarl-ups in their vehicles until transport systems are more reliable.

Nerima Wako-Ojiwa, executive director at Siasa Place @NerimaW