The government could be compelled to set up public amenities on major Kenyan highways if a Motion by Nyeri Senator Wahome Wamatinga is passed.
The motion which has been tabled before the Senate wants the Ministries of Roads and Health, Kenya National Highways Authority, and National Transport Safety Authority to develop a policy framework incorporating road reserves for road-side amenities on all highway designs.
“The majority of highway users are long-distance travellers, some being children, elderly or sick where they face a myriad of challenges including traffic delays, breakdown of vehicles that cause them to spend long hours on the road,” said Wamatinga.
The Senator wants a Public Private Partnership guideline on leasing the road reserves to developers, financing the construction of the amenities, and packaging incentives to attract investors to support the initiative.
Wamatinga argues that the lack of public amenities along highways exposes the passengers to insecurity and even starvation.
The Senator said there is also an urgent need for sanitary and medical facilities along the highways.
According to Wamatinga, setting up safe stopping points for road users at regular intervals with necessary roadside amenities such as fuel stations, parking spaces, restaurants, telephone booths, little repair shops, medical facilities and toilets would enhance the travel experience.
He also noted that the lack of these facilities makes it impractical for drivers to stop as often as they wish resulting in driving-related fatigue, a significant contributor to accidents on the highways since road-aside amenities are currently operated by private entities.
“Most of the roadside amenities available are operated and maintained by private companies, majorly oil companies located in urban centres while in the countryside there are inadequate numbers offering a limited variety of facilities to road users,” he said.
Senator Wamatinga wants the Ministries of Roads and Health, Kenya National Highways Authority, and National Transport Safety Authority to undertake a survey to ascertain the specific amenities required and the most convenient locations to develop them for use by citizens.