Kenyan experts call for introduction of congestion tax to ease traffic jams

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NAIROBI, May 16 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan experts on Thursday called for the introduction of congestion tax to reduce traffic jams in the capital city Nairobi.

Kwame Owino, CEO of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), told Xinhua in Nairobi that during peak hours most of the vehicles on the road are private cars which typically have two passengers or less.

"The government can use a congestion tax as an economic instrument to ease traffic jam because it will shift demand away from private cars to public cars which carry more passengers," Owino said during a public forum on the traffic challenge in the city of Nairobi.

Owino said that public transport is a more efficient way to move people in and out of big cities because they have a large passenger capacity.

"The mass transit system also reduces vehicle emissions by minimizing the amount of private vehicles on the road," he added.

Owino said that private vehicles which want to access the city center could be charged a premium in order to provide an incentive for people to use public transportation systems.

"Already a number of developed countries have implemented congestion fee to ease grid lock in major towns," he added.

He revealed that funds collected from private vehicles could be reinvested to boost the public transport sector.

According to IEA, the government can leverage on technology in order to collect the congestion tax from the private vehicles.

Peter Murima, chairman of the Motorists Association of Kenya, said that city residents prefer to use private vehicles due to lack of decent public transport.

Murima noted that the total number of vehicles that enter and leave Nairobi is estimated at around 500,000 per day. Enditem

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