Monday, March 17, 2008

Motoring moment: asset finance personified

nice poster here from Lunch over IP on urban transport solutions

The traffic crunch in Nairobi has gotten worse in the last week since 1/3 of the city’s commuters had restrictions placed on their access to downtown Nairobi.

It’s fait to say that over ¾ of cars from KAP___ onwards (cars registered in the last five years) are financed with asset or bank loans - so they are a reflection of the amount of credit in the economy.

But the traffic crunch will continue unless some serious measures are taken as there are few new roads or new parking spaces coming up in the city

What are some solutions?
- Better public transport as the image above shows.
- Restriction on vehicle imports/registrations; But bad for the economy, encourage corruption
- Restrictions on asset finance lending; but bad for banks
- Restrictions on vehicle use e.g. only use vehicles ending with odd number on one day, even the next: but favors the rich (with more than one car) and will encourage fraudulent license switching
- The India way (as adopted by Uganda) and small town in Kenya which is to have motorbikes as taxis. This would be great for those who work in the upper hill area
- Car pooling, temporary parking meters, new capital city? The list is endless


tengeza said...

I have discussed the issue of using bigger public transport vehicles - Buses v.s. Matatu's - in my blog. I personally do not mind having a lot of cars on the road...the main thing is that the infrastructure should be made suitable to handle the volume so that major traffic jams are avoided like the Muthurwa market matatu scenario.

jke said...

I think there have been some urban planners around in Kenya who thought about this many times - but then: isnt it that the *plan* for Nairobi still hasnt been implemented?

Personally, I'd like to see more modern busses (even India would need those! coz they still rely on 30yr old Tatas) plying all routes + park&ride facilities at the outskirts of Nbo with protected parking. But then - ppl want to be seen in their cars, right?

Relying on public transport is really nice. I currently live in Frankfurt and have sold my car in 2006 because i dont really need it - except for occasional trips to rural areas or for transporting bigger goods. Also, the City of Muenster is known for very good bicycle routes. Everyone there basically has a bike, much like Amsterdam.

Bambi said...

The City of Curitiba in Brazil comes to mind. Not only did the city implement direct solutions such as the use of articulated and bi-articulated buses carrying up to 270 passengers each, it also applied zoning laws to give priority to public transport. This meant allowing the building of high-rise apartment buildings and office blocks in areas easily accessible by buses and tubes as well as having bus-only lanes and roads.
In addition, the city standardized fares and worked with Volvo Brazil to design buses suited to the city.
Now this was a long term plan and began in the 70s.
In a way, Uhuru's plan only addresses one facet, which is the easing of congestion without offering tangible solutions to those affected by his plan.
This only goes to demonstrate the myopia and lack of collective thought in government in solving problems in the country.

31337 said...

The transport issue should not be left to one Ministry on its own. The way out of this mess shall be best addressed when all the stakeholders work together in planning and execution. Uhuru with his Ministry putting out decrees that were not well thought out or planned and lacked foresight and education of the public beforehand is our main failing in most undertakings, anyone recall that the polythene ban was supposed to have been re-effected in January?

Anonymous said...

Restricting imports is a NO NO, nairobi should learn how to deal with traffic and accommondate traffic if it wishes to grow to a bigger city.

Baba W&M said...

We need to think out of the box!. What Nairobi and Kenya at large needs is a good railway system, not bigger roads, not roads in the air.
Simple electric trains running North to South and East to West in greater Nairobi i.e. from Thika to Kiserian and Machakos to Naivasha. This will immediately eliminate 2/3of the vehicles plying our roads which are PSVs.
Further a railway from Mombasa to Malaba will ease the traffic of goods and people. I have personally seen a goods train 1.6km long, how many containers or fuel bogies is that.
We will see:-
Reversal of Rural Urban migration as people can live in Naivasha or Machakos and work in Nairobi.
Growth of the smaller towns along the railway as people decongest the cities and look for cheaper alternatives along the lines
Environmental degradation slowdown as many PSVs get off the roads.
Lower spend on fuel, a huge amount of fuel is wasted idling in the traffic at US$112pb!
Redeployment of all these traffic cops to security
I could go on forever, a country cannot grow without an efficient rail system, so lets forget the roads for a while.

bankelele said...

tengeza: But infrastructure is not going to chnage in the next three years

jke: there are old plans, now being implemented like the Japanese bypass funding. Big buses (like old KBS), just can't make it in the cut throat world of matatus - they are like Boeing 747's serving commuters who prefer 737's (nissan matatu's) that are more nimble, fill up, and complete journeys faster.
- I also use my car sporadicaly on weekends and in evenings
- no bicycle paths here, but mamatu's would drive onto these, if there were no barriers

Bambi: will look up Curitiba
- a bus with 270 passengers?

31337: I am trying not to blame the government anymore

Anon: Where will the cars go?

Baba W&M: But rails are unprofitable, even RVR are not going to continue with that business for long. and with the encroachment on railway land, where will the new rails be placed?
- I agree that if there were less serious jams, people should be able to commute from Naivasha or Machakos - and work in Nairobi

Baba W&M said...

Bankele: Rails, efficiently run, may not earn supernormal profits like the tech sector, they will however provide a large number of jobs and single-handedly (almost) jump start the economy.
There are rail (like road) reserves even in Nairobi, these should be reclaimed.
The savings alone that the economy can make should warrant this.
Take for example - would most people fly to Mombasa or Kisumu from Nairobi if you could take a comfy train for 2 1/2 hours. - I have personally seen a freight train 1.2km long, how many containers are those and how many lorries off the road - If I could get a comfortable train that comes on time, I would leave my car at home. This is the only way to go.

Fadzter said...

Nairobi is overdue for a light rail network. For starters, one line running from Westlands, through town, to Eastlands should reduce cars on the street by almost half. Next should be the Dagoretti to Kasarani route (again with stations through the CBD). At the ends of each line, large parking bays should be constructed.

There's still so much space overland across nairobi so would be a good idea to implement this light-rail system asap before excess construction forces an underground system which would cost us 10 times more to build.

Rail is expensive to set up, but many cities across the world have shown that it directly recovers cost within 15 years if done right, and in saves the economy billions by way of saved time interim. Hence, rail is a very profitable.

Baba w&m is right regarding heavy rail, i.e. Kenya Railways. The return of the railroad glory is the ONLY way roads like the msa-nai-kis highways will be spared from damage created by overloaded goods trailers.

Next, we have beautiful weather. Why not use motorcycles? Or even better, bicycles? I think we're still surrering from self-esteem issues such that to be "recognized", you need to drive a car.

The bypass needs to happen & soon. Doesn't make sense for a chap dashing out for a quick lunch to sit in traffic during lunch-hour right next to a trailer headed to DRC. (northern corridor / uhuru highway)

Bambi's example of Curitiba, the epitome of beautiful planning.

tumwijuke said...

I don't know about the motorcycle taxi suggestion, bankelele. They are more a nuisance than a help in Kampala. What with them being numerous, unregulated and untaxed.

Car pooling is a great idea. A few friends and I are doing it with some success. Hopefully the word will spread.

@baba & fadzter, light rail system in a country with unstable electricity supply and limited technological maintenance capacity? I don't know about that.

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