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Most residents of Nairobi use matatus to commute, report shows

Findings from the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research Analysis (KIPPRA) on the Economic Growth of Nairobi County have revealed the significant role that matatus play in the transport industry.

According to the outcome of the research released on Friday, more than half (58.7 per cent) of Nairobi residents use public service vehicles to go to commute to work. The outcome also shows that 17.1 per cent of the residents walk to their places, while only 9.7 per cent use private cars.

Also, the usage of motorbikes stands at 3.9 per cent, and buses at 3.7 per cent.

About 10,000 matatus in the capital are ply different routes, some operating to the nearby counties.

The findings indicate that matatu stops and routes are multiple, more far-reaching and accessible compared to rail, hence making them a more convenient mode of transport for most Nairobi residents.

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“More stops are concentrated in the central part of Nairobi, a sign of the fact that travel destinations are concentrated here as well. These destinations may include schools, work, home, social, shopping, businesses or others,” the report says.

The findings also indicate that there is varying locational access to jobs for people living in various areas which has led to spatial inequality as discussed.

According to the findings, while nonmotorized modes of transport and PSVs are the predominant modes of transport, private car users have better access to employment opportunities.

“Using the overall average travel time per trip in Nairobi of 47 minutes, car users could access 58 per cent of employment opportunities,” KIPPRA Senior Policy Analyst Dr Humphrey Njogu said during the release of the findings.

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Also, most jobs in Nairobi cannot be accessed by foot or minibus within an hour, and between 36-40 per cent of the jobs accessible by foot are centrally located.

This means that the majority of jobs that can be accessed by minibus within an hour are located in the central part of Nairobi.

However, the trend is different in the eastern sides of the county, where different for job accessibility by car (70-100 per cent) of jobs are accessible by car in most parts of Nairobi, with lower shares in the east.

“In the far western part of Nairobi, where there are mostly poor unpaved roads, a lower number of jobs can be accessed by car, foot, or minibus.”

The findings also show that traffic congestion affects accessibility by causing variability in travel speed and times.

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