Posted August 2, 2020 1:28 pm by

Nairobi residents will in the next few months have a modern commuter transport system as several government agencies work towards actualising the city’s master plan.

From an hourly commuter train service, to a complimentary rapid transport system, and a seamless non-motorised transport within the city centre, the government is quietly implementing these plans that are set to give the city’s chaotic transport system a facelift.


In two weeks, the refurbished Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) bought for Nairobi City will arrive in Kenya as the country moves to modernise commuter trains in the capital.

The units will form part of the Nairobi Railway city master plan, even as the Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) starts implementing the non-motorised master plan, that would see some of the streets in the central business district turned into pedestrian walkways.

A city of about 4.4 million people, according to the last population census, Nairobi until now has had only a haphazard transport system, based on mostly private 14 and 32 seater matatus. This has resulted in pain and chaos for millions of commuters amid traffic gridlocks on key roads and highways.

The World Bank estimates that Nairobi residents on average spend an hour to travel to work and another 60 minutes commuting back home due to traffic congestion.

Last week, Housing and Urban Development PS Charles Hinga said the DMUs bought from Spain, which were shipped to Mombasa on July 21, are expected to arrive at the port 25 days later, which will be on or about August 16.


The Cabinet last year approved the plan by Kenya Railways to buy 11 DMUs through a government-to-government arrangement. They should give a major boost to the ongoing reforms to turn around the city’s transport, which is one of the key deliverables for the NMS, which is under the management of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The acquisition of the refurbished DMUs forms part of a master plan to expand commuter services on five routes to the city centre boosting the plan by Nairobi Commuter Rail (NCR) to increase the number of train commuter users from the current 300,000 to three million in a month.

Kenya Railways said it acquired the DMUs, five coaches and spare parts from Serveis Ferroviaris de Mallorca (SFM) for Sh1.15 billion. The diesel units have a remaining economic useful life of 23-25 years.

Managing director Philip Mainga told the Sunday Nation that the DMUs would be used on the Nairobi Commuter Rail system.

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