Nairobi has 9,000 parking bays, but still, motorists take an average of half an hour looking for parking space, against a global average of 20 minutes according to the 2011 Parking Survey by IBM. The stress of looking for parking must be higher and the time longer since the survey was done six years ago.
Parking in Nairobi costs Sh300 a day for roadside slots, and Sh400 a day for off-the-street parking spaces. Then you still have to pay ‘parking boys’ to ensure your side mirrors don’t change ownership. But back in the day, and before technology and those yellow jacket Kanjo attendants took over, motorists paid for parking space in coins inserted in parking meters! All you had to do was slot enough coins into the meter for the duration you intended to occupy the parking space, be it half an hour, one hour or 10 minutes. And guess what, there was public parking behind Jamia Mosque between Tubman and Kigali roads and behind the Central Bank of Kenya.
Coin parking meters disappeared in the late 1990s when parking a car for a day in Nairobi cost just Sh70!