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City residents adopt carpooling concept to beat jams, steep fares

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This informal means of transport has its downsides, but is useful for many in Nairobi

Would you share a private car with a stranger headed in the same direction and share the costs instead of taking a taxi or matatu? Well, it seems some Nairobi residents are increasingly adopting carpooling to save themselves from the high cost and bad driving habits of matatu drivers.

At Car Wash, a sprawling middle-class neighbourhood in Kasarani, residents share a ride every morning, saving money and time spent in traffic, and arriving at work in style and more comfortably.

They are also escaping a desperate situation: the dire lack of public service vehicles (PSVs). The few that ply this route often leave them stranded on the busy highway with no connecting vehicles into the estate.

Car Wash estate is located between the Roysambu and Githurai 45 neighbourhoods, on the outskirts of Nairobi.

Isolated between two major highway exit points, the area has no dedicated PSVs and so residents created a carpooling scheme.

Carwash residents board private cars as several private cars line up to pick commuters on the way to town.

Ms Judy Mugo is a resident of Kasarani. She lives at a place called Seasons, which is closer to Mwiki Road than it is to Thika Road.

Late for work

For her commute to town, where she works as a customer care agent with a bank, she opts to walk hundreds of metres to Car Wash. Her aim? To ride-share with the residents there.

“Before carpooling, I used to be seated in a matatu at 5.30am. Then I would arrive in town very early and idle around waiting for the bank to open,” says Ms Mugo.

But if Ms Mugo decided to leave her house late, she would always get to town late for work.

“It takes more than an hour to access town via public means and you pay Sh80 while it takes me a maximum of forty minutes in a private car and I pay Sh50.”

Victor Mwaura, a young businessman based in Ngara, has also ditched matatus and depends solely on carpooling rides to get to work.

Private car owners who spoke to the Sunday Nation said the motivation behind ride-sharing is simply to help distraught residents.

“I live in Kahawa Sukari. I decided to start sharing my car when I saw the number of people stranded by the roadside,” says Timothy Odhiambo, who often stops to pick up residents on his way to town.

It has been one year since he started sharing his car with Car Wash residents.

“I pick up passengers daily on my way to town for business. I do it out of kindness,” Mr Odhiambo insists, “The Sh50 they pay as fare does not make much financial sense to me.”

His sentiments are shared by Stephen Njenga, a businessman based in Westlands, who picks up passengers at least thrice a week, depending on his schedule.

Carwash residents board private cars as several private cars line up to pick commuters on the way to town.

The ride-sharing concept here is disorganised as passengers scramble for cars. This puts off some drivers, who drive off never to stop again.

Mr Odhiambo claims to have stopped picking up passengers for some time after losing his side mirror in the scramble.

Ms Mugo wishes passengers would queue up to board.

Ride-sharing is widespread in the US and western countries but it is still a relatively new concept in Kenya.

“The concept here is informal but is more common upcountry, where a person going to the city will stop at the matatu stage and pick up a passenger or two,” says Ms Kellie Murungi, senior consultant at Lattice Consulting, a boutique finance and strategy advisory firm.

But the Car Wash example perhaps points to a country that is ripe for organised carpooling.

Former Kiambu County executive committee member for transport Nancy Njeri, now the transport planning manager at the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, said carpooling is a good concept that the government should promote and encourage.

source:Sunday Nation

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Barclays Bank Sh14m ATM heist was an inside job – DCI Kinoti

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The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss George Kinoti has confirmed that the theft of sh14 million at various Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) operated by Barclays Bank was an inside job.

According to the DCI, an initial investigation has revealed that the daring heist was executed by employees attached to the bank.

Kinoti said his team of detectives was concluding its probe in readiness to hand over the investigation file to the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Hajji’s office for prosecution of those found culpable.

“What happened at Barclays Bank is what we call constructive robbery which is a type of theft committed by employees of an organization. Look at the precision and exactly what was targeted. We are talking about a place that has CCTV cameras. However, those cameras were smeared with some substance,” he said.

On Wednesday detectives arrested a taxi driver and impounded a Probox vehicle suspected to have been used in the theft.

Five Barclays bank officials and a group of G4S security guards were earlier this week taken into custody to aid the police with the investigation.

A string of robberies in the long Easter weekend left Barclays Bank short of more than Sh14 million after four teller machines were broken into in Mutindwa, Mater Hospital, Kenyatta National Hospita and Kenya Cinema all in Nairobi County.

source:nairobinews

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Kenyan avocados cleared to enter the expansive Chinese market

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enyan farmers will now export their popular hass avocados to China following a trade deal signed when President Uhuru Kenyatta met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing today.

The signing of the agreement which makes Kenya the first African nation to export avocados to the Asian nation with a market of over 1.4 billion consumers comes after a long and comprehensive approval process that included Chinese experts visiting Kenyan farmers.

It is estimated that when the agreement is fully implemented, the Chinese market will absorb over 40 percent of Kenya’s avocado produce, making it one of the largest importers of the fruit. Other famous destinations of Kenyan avocado include Europe and the US.

The signing of the protocol on sanitary and phytosanitary (an agreement relating to the health of plants, especially with respect to the rules of international trade) requirements for the export of frozen avocado was the last major hurdle for the Kenyan crop to be accepted in the highly regulated but lucrative Chinese market.

Avocado becomes the second farm produce from Kenya to access the expansive Chinese horticultural market after Stevia and will be followed by 13 other priority farm produce among them flowers, mangoes, French beans, peanut, vegetables, meat, herbs, bixa and macadamia.

The meeting between Presidents Kenyatta and Xi Jinping and their delegations focused on promoting economic and trade exchange in 8 key initiatives identified during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) meeting held in Beijing last year.

These initiatives include industrial promotion, trade facilitation, infrastructure connectivity, green development and people-to-people exchange. Others are capacity building, healthcare, and peace and security.In addition to the avocado deal, President Kenyatta witnessed the signing of an agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation covering all sectors of mutual interest and an MOU on joint promotion of the implementation of the 8 FOCAC priority areas.

President Kenyatta is in Beijing, China for a three-day working tour where he will also attend the Second Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation that will be officially opened by President Xi Jinping on Friday.The President is accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries Peter Munya (Trade), Dr.Monica Juma (Foreign Affairs) and James Macharia (Infrastructure) among other senior government officials.

source:standard.co.ke

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69-Year-Old Dutchman alleges estranged Kenyan Wife’s Plot to Illegally Inherit His Vast Estate

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A Nairobi-based Dutchman has written to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Inspector General of Police over harassment by his estranged Kenyan wife.

Tob Cohen, the CEO of Tobs Company accuses his estranged Kenyan wife of using police and the justice system to harass and intimidate him.

Cohen claims that his partner Sarah Wairimu is colluding with some government officers to illegally deport him so that she can take over his vast estate.

“There has been a curious excitement to have our client prosecuted for allegedly assaulting her despite insufficiency of evidence, which intended prosecution is aimed not only at soiling his reputation but also having him deported from Kenya so that his properties become free and available to Sarah Wairimu Kamotho and her accomplices,” Cohen’s lawyer Danstan Omari says.

Cohen says Wairimu is using all means in an attempt to inherit his properties after he filed for divorce early this year.

Cohen, 69, has lived in Kenya since 1987 and married Wairimu in 2007 but soon after, their marriage became rocky after she began demanding a 50 percent stake of his property.

“The said Sarah Wairimu Kamotho has expressly been disrespectful to our client by being scornful and by use of emotional blackmail well demonstrated by the denial of our client’s conjugal rights,” the letter reads in part.

He also accuses Wairimu of storming into his office and throwing a glass of water at his face, threatening him, and pushing him downstairs, sustaining serious injuries on his forehead.

He says he was treated and later reported the matter at Parklands Police Station but that Wairimu filed a report at Gigiri police station claiming to be the one who was assaulted.

“That our client is astonished at the discriminatory manner in which the law is being applied to his disadvantage since no step has been taken by police officers at the Parklands police station to prosecute Wairimu despite a preponderance of evidence demonstrating her guilt, yet the same law enforcers are keen on prosecuting our innocent client.”

Cohen says he will continue to suffer humiliation, discrimination, and persecution if the DPP and IG fail to take action.

Source: Mwakilishi.com

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