Coastweek -- The
next part of travelling that I will touch on is the experience
when one travels by road,
writes TETI KAMUGUNDA.
not about travel when one is driving but when one is in public
first thing that always worries me is whether I will survive to
the next pee stop.
Kenya and indeed in many African countries, there appears to be
no planning for the convenience of road travellers.
governments’ primary focus is only on building roads in the name
of providing adequate infrastructure and there is very little
consideration to the needs of the users.
hardware provided is always around driving and driving safety.
amenities are constructed where trading posts appear along the
highways and roads that have been built.
of times these again are not planned but just happen – mainly
driven by the needs of long distance truck drivers who will
start taking breaks at a certain point and soon an enterprising
person will start providing some service – even as simple as
selling bananas to the truck drivers.
soon the truck drivers begin to demand for more things and the
variety if trade at this unscheduled stop starts to increase.
semi-permanent structures appear and then more permanent
structures. Other facilities follow as the place turns into a
passenger transport soon begins to stop at the location but it
is not because there is a planned convenience facility for
purely be because the bus company or the drivers have decided
that it is convenient to stop for their passengers or that they
need a place where the can pick up passengers and more often
has led to the development of stops like Kikopey and Salgaa.
are similar examples in Uganda and Tanzania where there is
thriving business in places that were completely uninhabited
barely ten years ago.
other reason that stops develop is the inefficiency of
locations have been established in most of the traffic corridors
in the Eastern Africa region – to control and manage the axle
loading of vehicles so that they do not destroy or damage roads
– a valuable piece of infrastructure.
of the delays which are minimally a couple of hours but more
realistically six to seven hours, truck drivers need services
and these have mushroomed slowly over time.
best example of this is Mlolongo near Nairobi and another one
in contrast to the experience when one travels in the so called
first world countries.
one finds that the state and sub state agencies have all sat and
agreed that there must be public facilities provided for the
convenience of its citizens irrespective of their place in
facilities within towns are plenty and well signposted.
comes to travelling by road, there are plenty of stops available
with conveniences and in some instances accommodation.
will be built such that they can accommodate both trucks as well
as passenger vehicles.
are done to establish both the need as well as predicting likely
the stops are built to achieve a different end such as
controlling traffic or creating centres where certain activities
can be carried out.
stops do not spring out of frustrations of drivers or truckers –
like happens in our region, they are properly planned and they
are well laid out and the amenities reflect the kind of needs
that have been assessed as needed.
are also designed for future expansion which will happen in a
to adopt the same type of thinking in order to improve the
travel experience in our country and in our neighbouring
countries as well.
Planning should extend beyond our borders to countries where we
have common aspirations especially as we are joined by the fact
that we are part of the East African Community.
by road should not be a lottery but one that can be safely
planned and predicted based on the provision of services as well
as facilities that make the journey a pleasurable one.
Kachumbari says, planning, planning, more planning and then
excellent execution is all that is needed to make life work!
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