Confusion and winding traffic snarl-ups dominated Green Park terminus test-run as Ngong Road commuters and matatu operators endured long hours on the road yesterday morning.
The test run, conducted between 6am and 9am, exposed the underbelly of the Sh200 million bus terminus in Nairobi with the operators and commuters complaining of having been given short notice for the drop-off testing.
The Green Park terminal, located at the former Lunar Park, will serve as a drop-off and pick-up point for matatus plying the Ngong and Lang’ata routes as part of the wider Nairobi decongestion strategy.
“We don’t even know how we will operate at this terminus. We have now dropped passengers but then we have to go to town to pick others up. This is a waste of resources,” said Allan Okumu, a driver.
Tom Ndolo, a driver with NTVRS Sacco, said: “The traffic is unbearable. The lack of prior notice has brought about all this confusion. NMS should look into ways that they would take the shortest time to access and leave the terminus.”
Even commuters shared their frustrations with those with heavy luggage citing inconveniences caused by the exercise.
“I have been dropped here and now I have to look for another means to reach Gikomba where I am headed to. This means I will have to spend more money,” said a visibly annoyed Priscah Auma, a trader.
Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) transport and public works director Michael Ochieng said the test-run had shown them shortfalls, which they will improve on. However, he said, the test run was a success as it proved that the matatus plying Ngong road route could be accommodated at the terminus.
Mr Ochieng, however, said they would need to improve the vehicle-passenger dropping off, common exit and how the commuters would connect to walkways to the central business district.
He said the NMS had engaged Kenya Railways commuter buses to ferry the disabled and those with luggage to their destinations free of charge.
Mr Ochieng added that there would be a dedicated lane from the terminus to Kenyatta Avenue to offer last-mile connectivity.
“Today is just the beginning but we want to ensure that the operation of the terminus is safe, works well and addresses the concerns of commuters and matatu operators to give them better service,” he said.