GENERAL Motors East Africa (GMEA) has unveiled a 37-seater Isuzu NQR Max bus targeting the public transport sector in Kenya which the company management says will help decongest the Nairobi city centre. GMEA Managing Director William Lay said the high capacity bus will complement ongoing government efforts to streamline the public transport system in the country’s main urban centres starting with Nairobi. Under the vision 2030 economic blue print, the government hopes to reform the public transport sector by introducing a system whereby passengers will alight at designated termini outside the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD). The passengers will then be transported into the CBD using a few licensed buses.
Lay said GMEA hopes to benefit from this project by supplying the new high capacity Isuzu buses which with time are expected to replace the current 14-seater matatus which are a major contributor of traffic jams within the CBD. Lay who spoke during the launch of the new 37-seater Isuzu NQR Max in Nairobi, also attended by Cooperatives Minister Joe Nyagah said the bus has been assembled with particular emphasis on passenger comfort, safety and affordability. Its key attributes that the manufacturers hope will attract schools and PSV investors include anti-roll bars to improve roll over safety to passengers, more space, hence more passenger capacity, proofing of steel structure to improve life of the body and better painting and grab handles on seats to improve passenger mobility inside the bus.
Thursday night’s launch of the new bus also signifies the start of a Private-Public Partnership (PPP) between the government and the cooperative movement under the Bus Vision 2030 project. Spearheaded by the Cooperatives Ministry, the PPP is a vehicle through which the government is seeking to attract more Kenyans to join the Sacco movement and invest in high capacity public transport vehicles. “If well regulated, the public transport sector remains one of the most lucrative business opportunities the cooperative movement can venture into,” said Nyagah.
Matatu Owners Association Chairman Simon Kimutai who was also present at the launch urged the country’s public transport sector to change to the high capacity buses saying it guarantees them a quicker return on their investment. He also encouraged PSV owners to consider group ownership, which would ensure proper fleet management enabling easier regulation and less competition within the sector.
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