The world has a population of over 7 billion people and it is moving in different modes of transport daily to get to work, school or to their preferred destination.
For example, in Soweto the taxi system is popular while in Rio de Janeiro cable cars carry 30,000 commuters from the slums to the city.
Newly elected Governor Mike Sonko issued a gazette notice for all matatus to be banned from the CBD and soon it was revoked after the Matatus Owners Association said that it is not working out for them. The aim was to reduce congestion in the CBD area but the thing to note here is that where is congestion coming from, what is it doing there and how to get it out. This can mean congestion from the matatus, personal vehicles and the taxis, why single out the matatus only?
The planning of Nairobi city can not be altered drastically to accommodate the decongestion programme, but what can be done is how best to use the present road routes for all to get to their destinations within a reasonable amount of time. For example children should not be subjected to a 90 minutes ride to school in the morning, so either change the school or live closer to the school. The same goes for the office, live closer to your office or arrange flexible timings if your employer is reasonable enough to understand. Remember you are better off having a happy and efficient employee than one who is dealing with road rage and lack of interest at work eventually. Private vehicles are not able to successfully do a car pool system, so they need stricter regulations in obtaining driver licenses and penalties for overlapping or obstruction of traffic need to be higher. There needs to be a points system that can be digitally monitored and curb the nuisance of private drivers blocking traffic at times or holding up a situation. Sometimes the accident is on the opposite side of the road, but your lane is slowing down, really!
The buildings in the CBD should either become all related to Government work or NGOs or certain types of industries or services only. This can create a new circle of movement and jobs circulation that can alter the transportation system. There are no doubt the top 10 cities in the world with the best commuter system all have a metro or tube system. Nairobi will need this system, having millions of commuters walk and take the train will certainly decongest the roads. However there must be an incentive for a commuter to take the train versus using their car, perhaps higher taxes like in London to use your vehicle within the city. Luckily there are no shopping malls within the CBD so private vehicle owners can enjoy their time with their vehicles on the outskirts where the malls are located.
The Matatus Owners Association usually complains that they have not been consulted before a change of route is declared. How about they come up with their own plan and let the city try it out and see if it works better. Unless you build more roads or stop the sale of cars and make the matatus system formal then there can be a difference. This formality means having a ticket stop, which can control price and number of tickets and have a pass system, with digital devices that swipe the ticket. The technological advancements are possible but how users friendly on both parties will it be or willing they will be will be the one to watch for.
This debate will continue.