I keep hearing people talking about how new roads are being built everywhere, including the sky, and how nothing’s changing in the traffic. I beg to differ. I don’t know about others, but my traffic experience has changed for the better. Seriously. While the problem is not yet solved and more still needs to be done, truth is, something has changed ever so slightly.
My route has always touched on Globe Cinema roundabout by matatu. Also, my matatu has never had much choice of route. I’m seeing today that my matatus can now choose one of several routes. One involves using Forest Road to join up with Ngara or even using part of Thika Road. At the moment, my trips to town have been taking roughly 25 minutes instead of the usual hour. That includes stopping time to pick up and drop passengers. And it matters little where I live. If I can reduce by commute time by less than half, then something good is happening.
And matatu crew are a happy lot. I hear them saying that they are doing quicker rounds and can do more rounds per day or finish work earlier. Even the fare seems to have dropped. They are more willing to negotiate.
If I’m in a personal car, the nightmare that was Uhuru Highway heading towards town or towards Westlands, has eased a bit. The road construction is far from over and once the bypasses are completed, plus the ring roads such as the one joining Ngong Road to Westlands, the difference will be tangible even for the naysayers.
However, Fridays remain a problem after work hours and especially at the end of the month as Kenyans try to find their way upcountry or to their favourite pub. In addition, a small hiccup such as a minor accident always takes us back to square one. The worst hurdle is rain. The areas around Parklands Sports Club all the way to Forest Road usually flood at least 2 feet deep. Then the mess begins again and it is as if the roads were never built. Drainage must be improved and I’m sure that’s part of the plan.
But Kenyans, I don’t know where you live, but, me, I’m enjoying my rides to and from everywhere.