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Fatumas Voice Latest Questions

  • 0
Robert Mũnũku
Chui

What do you think should be done to improve public transport in Kenya?

This is what I think.

During Hon. Kalonzo Musyoka’s father’s burial, our President, during his time to speak, at some point said something to this effect (not verbatim), “Wanataka nijenge barabara lakini hawataki nikope [They (community leaders) want me to build roads yet they do not want me to borrow money].”

What the President was simply alluding to is the fact that we (Kenya) do not have enough money to ran our economy – we need to borrow. He went on to say such borrowing needs to be put to productive use. Now, back to my question, here is my view and what I would do if I was the governor of Nairobi (& had leeway on resource use): –

1 – I would borrow money to: acquire a fleet of vans & buses (through transparent procurement procedures to ensure affordability but quality nonetheless), create a task force to revamp the road infrastructure in the entire county (main roads)

2 – Form/hire a task force of professionals to come up with a project plan to implement my NATIONALISED TRANSPORT system (hoping the other 46 governors will adopt my model in their counties)

3 – The county-ran public transport system will operate on ALL routes in Nairobi at CHEAPER rates as well as follow ‘Michuki Rules’ – this way the matatu industry will be forced to improve their services or close-shop.

4 – Add parking fees to Ksh1,500 ($15) per day – the rationale here is that by then there will be a functional transport system in place so why should an individual who owns a car use it always? In any case if you own a car you can afford to pay $20 per day if you feel you need to come with it to the CBD. If you have children and need to use your car you could do so on weekends. On weekdays, we (county government) would ensure a safe & affordable school bus system for your children.

5 – Establish toll stations at strategic entry points to the city (Nairobi) where various types of vehicles pay to enter. The highest charged will be commercial vehicles. This money will contribute to paying back the loan along with the CBD parking fees.

6 – Have the task force above come up with a plan to absorb cabs and ‘boda boda’ operators into the infrastructure i.e. creating termini and tax-collection mechanisms for the revenue they generate

7 – Create a franchise system where all matatu owners can CHOOSE to work with the county government by providing their vehicles for use in compliance with the new system.

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2 Her Answers

  1. This would absolutely save Nairobians and the rest if adopted, a great deal actually. Just wondering though, what happens to the current matatu owners and their employees including the makangas that get paid 20Bob after the “mbao tao” calls to potential passengers ? There is the business community tRead more

    This would absolutely save Nairobians and the rest if adopted, a great deal actually. Just wondering though, what happens to the current matatu owners and their employees including the makangas that get paid 20Bob after the “mbao tao” calls to potential passengers ? There is the business community to deal with. I’m not sure Sonko can get this effected. But maybe Matiang’i can. Just maybe.

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    • in this system all the matatu owners will continue operating the only thing they need to do is: –
      – surrender their vehicles to be managed by the county government transport system
      – have their vehicles operate within the framework of new standards to include fare structures
      – matatu drivers and touts will become civil servants with a salary, NSSF and pension
      Think of the county government as an ‘uber service’ for matatus but better with more responsibilities.
      In the end everyone wins, this is why: –
      1) Matatu owners will still make money minus burden of managing the vehicles, drivers and touts
      2) Commuters would benefit because they would be getting better service and no traffic because the above plan also includes an infrastructure overhaul
      3) Commuters who also happen to have cars will save fuel and ware and tare because there would be a functional public transport system which means they use their cars less which also means (like 2 above) less traffic
      4) the government benefits from revenue collection and less congestion.
      5) the less traffic means less ‘dead labour time’ = better economy.
      6) because of less traffic and smoother access to transport, business people who rely on road transport will have more business done per unit time = 5 above – a better economy
      7) insecurity and other vices associated with the matatu industry will diminish
      8) LESS POLLUTION from exhaust fumes because private cars, which will be less, carry less people as compared to public transport i.e. for every 13 cars off the roads you’ll have 1 carrying the 13 people who presumably would be driving alone.

  2. This is a well detailed plan but I don’t think the county government is in a position to take this up. Either because it did not come from them or because of the practical nature. We all know how politicians and the same county officials benefit from this broken system Giving them the authority to iRead more

    This is a well detailed plan but I don’t think the county government is in a position to take this up. Either because it did not come from them or because of the practical nature.

    We all know how politicians and the same county officials benefit from this broken system Giving them the authority to implement this is a recipe for disaster.

    I would prefer local companies bid to run the system. Privatise it and employ people to implement. The business like angle may inspire more diligence in making it all work.

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    • I hear you, but let me tell you something using analogies.
      Analogy 1: Imagine a family of 3 – 2 parents and 1 child. The parents are reckless and irresponsible always leaving the child to the nanny and never taking time to raise her. Now over time, the situation gets worse with the parents so someone suggests that it is better to have the child committed to a children’s home where she’ll get better care than she is from the bad parents.
      Analogy 2: A company slashes all its employees salaries by 75%. There is uproar and protest but the company management is adamant and justifies the cut. The workers protest, hold meetings, even approach lawyers and unions for advice but to no resolve. The same thing goes on for weeks up until the company finally agrees to reduce the cut to a 25% one from 75%. The workers then rejoice at their victory.
      A government is the custodian of the country unless of course we want to return to a ‘state of nature’ where everyone does what they please. Privatisation is the same as the orphanage in analogy (1) and the same as the ‘false reprieve’ in analogy (2). Instead of focusing on alternatives to government we should be focusing on alternatives to a ‘bad government’ hence replacing it with a functional one. In the same way the solution to poor parenting is not building more orphanages.
      Private companies are driven by profit – capitalism in pure play, and have no concern for social welfare. Yes, they may seem to provide great services but not because they like you, because they want to stay in profit and trust me they will bleed you dry for those services and move on to ‘other clients’ once you are no longer viable.

1 Him Answer

  1. Even without knowing much about Kenya's Transport system after reading through this actionable dialogue, I have quite an apt knowledge of the situation. I must say these are workable solutions in focus and if implemented strategically it will help reshape and revamp the transport system in Kenya. SoRead more

    Even without knowing much about Kenya’s Transport system after reading through this actionable dialogue, I have quite an apt knowledge of the situation.
    I must say these are workable solutions in focus and if implemented strategically it will help reshape and revamp the transport system in Kenya.
    So far, one can identify what the problem is.
    what technology or skill set will be needed to solve the problem?.. in terms of requiring fantastic idea-tors & creatives?

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