By: Justus Obando @MountKenyaTimes
Nairobi’s oldest bus station popularly known as Machakos Country Bus terminus will soon be converted into an underground parking lot that will be digitally operated.
Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Director-General Mohamed Badi said the planned multi-storey parking area will be charged hourly.
This is part of the plan by the NMS to de-congest the Kenya’s capital city and introduce automation parking, drastically increasing capacity and efficiency.
General Badi in an interview revealed that NMS has already initiated the process of developing underground parking at Sunken Park which will also happen at Machakos Bus Park.
“It will be affordable and once the motorists reach the parking lot, you will pay through mobile money, leave your car there and it will be parked for you in whichever floor of that building, ”Badi said.
The NMS boss noted that the project will mirror one already implemented by the Holy Family Basilica where the church put up a multi-storeyed parking bay that has 536 parking slots. Previously the space could accommodate 120 cars.
General Badi added that NMS will ensure that there’s enough underground parking for Nairobi residents.
The construction of Holy Family Basilica parking was implemented by Chinese contractor China Zhongxing Construction Company.
Paytech Company was tapped by the church to fit the ultra-modern parking silo with a state-of-the-art smart parking solution that combines an access control system, parking guidance system and electric vehicle charging system.
One of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directives to NMS last year on March 18, 2020, was to have automation of parking facilities in at least three areas within Nairobi.
As of July, Desai Road, Machakos Bus station, Sunken Car park (along Aga Khan walk) and Nairobi law court parking had been automated.
Last September, NMS announced that most of the on-street parking slots would be turned into transport corridors for pedestrians and cyclists as part of wider plans to decongest the capital.
NMT has been rolled out along Wabera and Muindi Mbingu streets and Kenyatta Avenue which as a result has reduced parking along these places.
A number of the on-street parking spaces will also be converted to multi-storey and sunken car parks.
NMS began automating parking facilities in the county last year in preparation for the introduction of hourly parking in Nairobi’s city centre.
From July City motorists will start paying hourly parking fee within the Central Business District.
The plan, contained in the Nairobi City County Fiscal Strategy Paper for the financial year ending June 30, 2022, will see the county government introduce hourly parking charges to complement the current daily parking charges.
The hourly rates are yet to be set and would be subject to approval by the County Assembly before implementation. Motorists are currently charged Sh200 daily parking fee to park in the city centre.
Nairobi’s Finance and Economic Planning Chief Officer, Halkano Waqo, said the hourly charges will help boost revenue and deal with choking traffic, which costs motorists time and fuel.
Cytonn Real Estate 2018 report showed that parking bays have an average yield of 9.1 per cent due to growing number of vehicles in Nairobi coupled with inadequate public parking spaces, especially in the city centre.
Motorists usually pay an estimated Sh9,500 per bay per month on average with the lowest being parking bays at Grade C office blocks that charge as low as Sh4,000 in sparsely populated areas like Mombasa Road and as high as Sh13,000 in up market areas such as Parklands, Kilimani and Upper Hill.
Nairobi’s city centre is the most lucrative with parking bays raking in an average of Sh12,000 a month, Karen (Sh10,862), Parklands (Sh10,500), Gigiri (Sh10,500) and Upper Hill Sh9,500.
City Hall has been losing millions every month in parking revenue in the wake of collusion between parking attendants and motorists to avoid paying the Sh200 daily fee.
An attempt to double the fee to Sh400 was resisted by some motorists, with the matter still pending in court.