Nairobi Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) System

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An agreement has been signed for the development of the Nairobi core Bus Rapid Transit Line 3, the first dedicated electric bus rapid transit lane in East Africa.

The agreement was signed between the government of Kenya and the European Commission. As per the agreement, the parties will jointly fund the project to the tune of EUR 347.6 million (roughly Ksh 50 billion).

Features of the Green Mobility-Nairobi core Bus Rapid Transit Line 3

Zero-emission electric buses will be a feature of the Green Mobility-Nairobi core Bus Rapid Transit line 3 (BRT 3). It will also introduce intelligent transport system features and reasonably priced fare settings. 

Additionally, it will include access to the public transportation system for youth, women, as well as low-income households. It is said that it will also address traveler safety. 

Kenya has been at the forefront of electrifying public transportation systems, at least in Nairobi and throughout Africa. The country is still far from hitting the levels of the United States, China, and other advanced countries.

Despite that, Kenya has been receptive to electric vehicle companies looking to put their vehicles on the road for the bulk of public transit customers.

Implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system

Nairobi’s public transport system, meanwhile, has not managed to keep up with the pace of development. Kenya’s transportation industry has profited from technical support from the European Union (EU) over the last decade. In order to oversee the execution of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in collaboration with the EU, the Nairobi Metropolitan Transport Authority (NaMATA) was founded as a government agency.

To implement the BRT system with the aid of EU/Team Europe technical support, the Kenyan government also held talks with the informal matatu bus industry. Bus rapid transit (BRT), a cost-effective form of public transportation, has gained in popularity over the past several years in African cities.

Lagos, Johannesburg, Accra, and also Dar es Salaam are some African cities that have BRT systems operating. Nairobi will soon join them with a better proposal that will also have an electric bus aspect for sustainability reasons.

Nairobi Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system background

The Nairobi BRT system was proposed by the NAMATA in a 2019 report as a strategy for easing traffic congestion in the city, where over three million commuters spend an average of 57 minutes every day on short journeys. According to the report, the unending traffic in Nairobi costs the East African country’s economy US$ 1bn a year in lost productivity.

The system covers Nairobi City County and the adjoining counties including Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos, and Murang’a, and it includes a total of five lines named after Kenya’s Big Five animals i.e. Simba (Lion), Kifaru (Rhino), Chui (Leopard), Ndovu (Elephant), and Nyati (Buffalo).

The lines are Ndovu (Kangemi – Imara), Simba (Bomas – Ruiru, which includes Thika Superhighway), and Chui (Njiru – Show Ground). Kifaru (Mama Lucy – T-Mall), and Nyati (Balozi – Imara).

Reported earlier

July 2020

Construction of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in Kenya to begin next month

A Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in Kenya, along the Thika superhighway through the Nairobi Central Business District to the Kenyatta National Hospital (KHN) area is set to begin construction next month.

This is after the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development signed an over US$ 51M contract with Stecol Corporation for the implementation of the project. According to Charles Hinga, the ministry’s Principle secretary, the contractor is currently mobilizing its workforce to start executing the first phase of the project covering the corridor from Clay Works through Haile Selassie Avenue to the Kenyatta National Hospital area.

Also Read: Kenya to construct three new footbridges on Ngong Road in Nairobi

Alongside the development of the two innermost lanes of the highway to accommodate special high-capacity buses and erecting boarding ramps to ease access to the buses, the contractor will also build support facilities such as boarding stations and footbridges.

A park-and-ride facility is also planned for construction in the Kasarani area to allow commuters heading to the city center to park their vehicles and transfer to the mass transport bus for the remainder of the journey.

This phase is projected to be completed within a span of eight months.

The operation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system

The mass transport project will engage 100 buses with a capacity of about 160 passengers in the initial phase before scaling up operations progressively. These buses will be run by private operators but regulated by the Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (NaMATA).

Francis Gitau, the chief executive of NaMATA, said that the buses will be equipped with Wi-Fi and coffee shops and that the passengers will use electronic cards to pay for the services.

“The aim is to introduce a reliable and efficient mass transit system that will attract even those using private vehicles,” explained Mr. Gitau.

The BRT system is mainly meant to support the city’s rickety public commuter services and help ease traffic congestion.

May 2022

Nairobi Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system purchasing buses begins

The government of Kenya, through the Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (NaMATA), has begun the process of purchasing buses for use on the Nairobi Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system.

In an advertisement ran in local dailies, NaMATA invited tenders from qualified parties to supply the high-capacity buses destined particularly for the BRT system along the Thika superhighway through the Nairobi Central Business District to the Kenyatta National Hospital (KHN) area, which has been under construction for more than two years.

According to Transport Principal Secretary Charles Hinga, the initial fleet requirement for the 27 km stretch is 100 12-meter buses, which he says will give 3min headway during peak hours and 5 minutes off-peak.

Type of vehicles eyed for

Among the buses requested are electric, hybrid as well as biodiesel types as the city leans towards green energy and climate conservation. NeMATA indicated that it is seeking to purchase the vehicles or hold a lease of not less than 36 months.

“Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (NaMATA) invites sealed tenders from original bus manufacturers, motor vehicle dealers, leasing companies, financial institutions, and interested firms for the provision of buses and transport services for the Nairobi BRT system through leasing.

The buses, which will be considered in 3 options based on propulsion technology including electric, hybrid as well as biodiesel and other options, will be for sale or a proposed lease tenure of a three, seven and 12 years’ period,” read the statement.

Bidders shall submit both technical and financial proposals in separate envelopes within a period of 280 days counting from February 1st. The tenders, which must be accompanied by a bid security of sh 1 million from a reputable bank, shall be opened on Tuesday 22 March.

Dec 2022

Nairobi Bus Rapid Transit system project delays

The completion of the Sh5.6 billion Nairobi Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system, connecting Kasarani with the Kenyatta National Hospital (KHN) area, through Nairobi’s center, is being delayed due to funding difficulties.

It was scheduled for the 27-kilometer Kasarani-Kenyatta National Hospital line to be made available to the general public in June 2022. However, the Treasury has not provided the project with the additional Sh3 billion essential to complete it. This was mentioned by the Housing Principal Secretary, Charles Hinga.

Mr. Hinga said they have already spent Sh2 billion of the approximately Sh5 billion project budget for the current line that is under construction. He added that this indicates that an additional Sh3 billion is required to conclude the current line.