TAWU says workers have been locked out of meetings and deliberations on the implementation of the BRT System.
Nairobi transport system has always been a unique jungle, where the strongest and the most shrewd always takes the way and the law is secondary.
Successive governments have tried to streamline the sector but it has always been met by gang-like cartels which not only control the routes but also control whop joins. The sector is also a milking cow with police officers and officers of the county government finding undocumented revenue.
Where revenue is recorded, the sector with its signature matatus, has always sustained several government operations as the sector is one of the most highly taxed in the country.
Now, the government has been mooting modernisation of the sector starting with Nairobi. The government is planning rolling out Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) to decongest Nairobi, which at its highest time, traffic snarl-up costs the Kenyan economy close to Sh 80 Million per day.
Transport situation in Nairobi is crazy only comparable to buzzing cities like New Dehli and Rio De Janeiro. A report from an online site numbeo.com listed Nairobi as the second worst city in terms of traffic, slightly behind Calcuta.
Transport Workers Union (TAWU) has protested against the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit System claiming that they are not being involved in the process. The manner in which the BRT is being implemented has led to the operators of matatus marching through the streets of Nairobi and presenting their views to the CS of Transport James Macharia.
TAWU General Secretary Dan Mihadi says the workers have been locked out of meetings and deliberations on the implementation of the BRT System.
“They have Matatu Owners Association on board but not us, the people who work on a day to day basis. We are the ones with the technical knowledge of the day to day running of the Industry, we should be included,” Mihadi said.
Mihadi says if the implementation is not well coordinated to include public transport workers in such a massive stage, it would not be devoid of controversy.
“Meetings are held in secrecy and we are left in the dark not knowing what is going on, we need our members to be represented in those meetings so as our views are heard, we are the expected to implement the system, yet we are left in the dark,” International Transport Workers Federation Africa Programs Cordinatior Stephenstone Kisingu lamented.
The Ministry of Transport has already finalized the purchase of the first batch of 64 BRT buses to be used for the pilot scheme and they are ready for shipping from South Africa, with negotiations ongoing to procure 11 diesel trains from spain.
The BRT will run in collaboration with the private sector where the City will require about 900 BRT and will be manufactured locally following the pilot phase. Transport Permanent Secretary Charles Hinga has however reassured the workers of their involvement.
“The BRT comes with job opportunities for all of you, we will work with your union leaders to see Matatu workers are represented. You are the most important stakeholders,” Hinga told Matatu workers outside Ministry of Transport Offices at Transcom House.
Some of the specifications of the BRT buses include two doors on the right hand side, driver controlled safety gadgets, roll over cage structure, stainless steel frame and electronic cash system among others.
The Sh9.6 billion project is funded by the European Union who gave Sh5 billion grant for its implementation.