Planning for the operations and management of intra-urban public transport modes in Nairobi
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The growth of Nairobi, both in terms of size and density that today stands at 690 Km and 1.7 million people respectively has been accompanied with diverse problems in the planning and management of its urban sub-systems. One such problem has been in the area of the provision of adequate transport services, in particular the public transport segment. The level of intra-urban activities generated by a city of such magnitude and density and with 73% of its population having no personal vehicles demands that it be supported with a well developed and efficient public transport system to sustain the growth and development of the urban economy. This study examines some problems in spatial planning for public transport in a situation where an informal mode of public transport .('Matatus')compete with formal public transport modes, Kenya Bus Services and Nyayo Bus Services and where the physical facilites provided for these modes are not adequate to accommodate the levels of demand raised thereof. The result has been heavy congestion and conflict on the C.B.D roads, bus- stops and terminals used by these modes. There is also competition for passengers that takes place on the city roads, as these modes operate on the same routes and have common destinations in the residential estates. This study describes in brief the present state of these modes in terms of their role in public transport and in details, how their needs are catered for in terms of provision of the supportive physical facilities in the form of bus stops and terminals. The study provides evidence to show that the facilities are inadequate to cope with demand and that the difficulties encountered in trying to provide for these modes is as a result of policy oversight where the spatial needs of Matatus were ignored in preference to promotion of K.B.S. and where public transport planning was only considered in terms of supply of the modes to meet rising demand with only low priority given to planning for their arrival and departure points in the city, Hence their increase in number has not been matched with provision of these facilities. The planning aspect of this study is given in the form of a plan for action that attempts to alleviate the escalating congestion and conflict through a traffic circulation system that seeks to make maximum use of space in the C.B.D. and a rational distribution of terminal points among the three modes. Policy recommendations are also given that should help the general management of the operations of the public transport modes in a way that they will supplement and complement rather than compete with each other.