A Citizen TV feature on the readjusted operations of matatus in Nairobi on Tuesday morning, May 12, resulted in startling findings.
Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) were back to carrying passengers well beyond the prescribed limit, amid the threat posed by Covid-19.
The return to the old ways came just a day after Health CAS Rashid Aman announced that the country has recorded 700 positive Covid-19 cases.
Quizzed on why they had decided to risk the lives of thousands by flouting the national government directive regarding social distancing in matatus, the operators claimed to be under pressure from their employers.
Matatu old ways— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) May 12, 2020
Operators return to old ways despite covid-19 measures
PSVs carrying passengers beyond prescribed limits
Many operators have no sanitizers in their vehicles #DayBreak pic.twitter.com/Lai2Cc2sTx
"It's just greed. We are also under a lot of pressure from the matatu owners, which is why we are forced to return to the old ways.
"They have daily targets of expected revenue which we have to meet. They should understand the current situation and accept whatever we are able to make at the end of the day while adhering to the social distancing rules, but that is not the case," a matatu operator explained.
In the footage, an overcrowded matatu can be seen snaking its way past a police officer who doesn't even give it a second look as she directs traffic along the busy Haile Selassie Avenue, symbolising a return to normalcy.
Speaking to journalists Matatu Owners Association Chairman Simon Kimutai denied the allegation of greed on the part of matatu owners.
"I want to disagree with that gentleman, I think he's just a member of a cartel at one of the bus stops. How can we be giving targets when it is not realistic.
"We are incurring huge losses during this period. The rules regarding social distancing, staying at home and the cessation of movement have crippled the industry," he stated.
He went on to explain the plight of investors in the business stating that the value of public service motor vehicles depreciated at a rate of 15% per annum.
Coupled with other recurring costs such as insurance, Kimutai stated that they were currently operating on the negative side of the profit curve.
Simon Kimutai, Chairman Matatu Owners Association: Owners of matatu’s are not giving targets at this time as that demand is not realistic. The matatu business is currently low; social distancing, stay at home order & curfew has worsened the industry #DayBreak pic.twitter.com/qcRXz2hBkv— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) May 12, 2020