Nairobi’s peak traffic inflicts pollution levels that are civically unmeasured. A choking blanket of acrid fumes exude from the numerous elderly and poorly maintained matutu; essential to move the thousands of workers around the metropolis. When the arterial routes inevitable grind to a halt, journey times can extend from twenty minutes to several hours, whilst the smog clings and chokes in the morning heat. The eventual gridlocked traffic only exacerbates; trapping lungs and shortening lives.
Whilst the newer wealth migrate to personal private transportation, increasing congestion further, a fresh challenger is emerging. The number of boda bodas (taxi motor cycles) is exploding. Economically imported from India and China, the entrepreneurial owner operator can provide a fast and cheap alternative that can circumnavigate just about anything. Pavement and traffic direction are no barrier and the paying pillion ride is truly terrifying. Build quality and emissions are at best dubious and the crash fatality rates heart wrenching. Rapid development and the Nairobi population pull-factor will only escalate the problem.
London, in an apparent overnight coup recently introduced the ‘T’ charge; an eye watering £10.00 daily toxicity levy on older vehicles in attempt to make the air more breathable. The average daily wage in Kibera is £2.00.