Since the invention of the wheel, moving from point A to point B has never been easier, given the recent changes within the last 5 years in the commuting industry it’s easy to see why.
Road transport is the leading mode of transport in Kenya. According to the Kenya roads board, there is a total of 160886 km of roads in Kenya. The most commonly used vehicles in Kenya are the P.S.V/ matatu. There are around 100000 matatus nationwide with almost 40% operating in the central business district (CBD). About 70% of the capital’s 1.3 million commuters use a matatu at some point every month for their commute. There are over 500000 private vehicles in Kenya being used by a small percentage of Kenya to navigate.
The bus services
The largest bus company in Kenya is the Kenya bus service. The oldest bus company in Kenya is the coast bus which runs a day and night service between Nairobi and Mombasa taking at least 9 hours on each trip. The Ascott operates minivans offering shuttle services between Nairobi and Kisii while the Guardian’s bus co. ltd runs a guardian bus service that operates day and night passenger bus to western Kenya, rift valley and Mombasa. Some other bus companies include; Modern Coast, Nyamira Express, Vanga, Simba Coach, Xenon, Dreamline, Messina, Chania among many others.
Another widely used means of transport is the motorcycle taxi commonly known as Boda Boda. Boda Bodas are very effective in navigating heavy traffic. There are a staggering 4.8 million Boda Bodas in Kenya serving the majority of Kenyans due to their pocket-friendly prices and time-saving characteristics. However, Boda Bodas are considered the most dangerous means of transport since it is often used by criminals and terrorists. Recently, the Nairobi county government banned the Boda Bodas from operating at the CBD due to the increasing accidents they cause.
Ride-hailing transport system.
Ride-hailing apps like Uber, Little, Mondo, Dandia and Taxify/Bolt are the leading taxi-hailing apps in Kenya. Since 2010, ride-hailing apps have gained popularity with 1 out of every 10 Kenyans using them for transportation and delivery. The most common ride-hailing app is Uber and Little. Uber is a technology platform that connects driver-partners and riders. Taking the case of Uber, the Uber app is used to request a ride.
When a nearby driver-partner accepts the request, the app displays an estimated time of arrival for the driver-partner heading your pickup location. The app also notifies you when the driver-partner is about to arrive and also provides you with information like the license plate number, the vehicle type and the first name of the driver-partner meant to connect you at pickup location.
When you arrive at the destination and exit the vehicle, the fare is calculated automatically and the payment is done through the payment method linked on the Uber application. The passenger is then given a chance to rate the driver 1 to 5 stars. Bus hailing apps include Swvl and Little.
Boda Boda hailing apps include; Safe Boda, Safe Motos, Taxify, Uber Bodas among others. These Boda Boda hailing apps offer a new way to navigate Nairobi faster and safer. The ride-hailing apps are both affordable and convenient. Some of the many advantages include doorstep pickup, safer rides, time-saving and privacy during transport.
Boda Bodas have a place in Kenya’s future transport but instead of passengers, for delivery of goods. Projects like smart matatus, driver tracking, and the SGR are the future for the Nairobi’s transportation network.
The standard gauge railway is a 485km heavy rail that connects Mombasa to Nairobi. Since the SGR also called the Madaraka express opened in May 2017, over 1 million Kenyans have used it for transport and delivery services. The SGR has 10 passenger stations between Mombasa and Nairobi that constitute the route of the Madaraka express. From Mombasa, the Madaraka express proceeds to Mariakani then to Miasenyi, Voi, Mtito Andei, Kibwezi, Email, Athi river the finally terminates at Nairobi. Recently H.E Uhuru Kenyatta commissioned the Ongata Rongai, Ngong, Maai Mahiu and Suswa line. SGR offers affordable prices and few travel hours as compared to buses and other vehicles. However, the SGR is not flexible due to the strict timetable and it can only stop at recognized passenger stations.