Roam rolls out the first ever electric, mass-transit Bus operation in Kenya.
Roam, along with its pilot partner, Kenya Mpya on Wednesday, launched the first-ever electric and all-inclusive transport system that will soon be operating in Kenya, catering to Nairobi’s increased urban mobility.
The Bus known as Roam Rapid has been designed to meet the needs of people living with disability, children and expectant mothers. The program is the first-ever electric mass transit bus operation in Kenya, catering to Nairobi’s increased urban mobility. This bus operation, which will run for one year, intends to showcase Kenya’s readiness to adapt to a reliable, sustainable, and efficient electric public transit system ahead of mass production.
“We noticed with the Matatus it’s a bit crowded and unsafe to use them. Many families with small children prefer getting a car to take them to work, which causes a lot of congestion. We are doing this so that fewer people can use cars, and many can use the Bus because it’s a bit comfortable”. Said Olov Daniels – Electric Vehicle Product Manager at Roam
The Bus has two wide doors on the sides and one door on the front. Their slightly bigger seats are conducive for a mother and her child comfortably without feeling squeezed. It also has a suspension that can lean on one side and has a wheelchair ramp to enable people with disability to board the Bus quickly.
“During the design, we consulted with organizations to do with children and women. We had discussions with them to understand what it means to have a safe space; after that discussion, we looked at safe areas where we can have children sitting and priority setting for the elderly and people living with disability”. Says Dennis Wakaba, Project Coordinator, Roam
Public service vehicle owners were in 2011 given one year to redesign their vehicles to allow disabled persons to board them quickly. Still, little has been achieved to ensure the Kenyan public transport system is friendly to persons with special needs and children.
The Persons with Disabilities Act, 2003 states, “An operator of a public service vehicle shall adapt it to suit persons with disabilities in such a manner as may be specified by the Council.”
According to the 2019 census report on disability, 2.2 per cent of Kenyans, translating to 0.9 million people, live with some form of disability. To ensure they all live a dignified life despite their disability, enforcing the principle of universal design in all aspects guarantees them smooth mobility.
Experts argue that while accessibility depends on the built environment’s ability to recognize the diversity of the needs of people with disabilities along the travel chain, safety depends on the transport system’s ability to protect vulnerable users from accidents and injuries.
The Roam Rapid, launched in late August, is the electric Bus that will be in operation, and it’s expected to deliver at least 100 units of the 77 sitter Busses and about 20 units of the medium-sized Bus.
Fares will be at par with what other bus operators in the industry now charge. It’s set to operate on the Thika Superhighway, Mombasa Road and Waiyaki Way as the initial routes. The Bus is currently running its operations from Fire Station Lane in the Central Business District to Juja.