Matatu Owners on Hiking Fares After Uhuru Eases Lockdown

Public service vehicles in Nairobi.
Public service vehicles in Nairobi.

Matatu owners on Monday, July 6, responded to the burning question on whether they would hike fares following easing of lockdown rules by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

During an interview on Citizen TVMatatu Owners Association chairman Simon Kimutai stated that they were looking for avenues not to pass the burden to passengers as inter-county travel resumes.

"It is difficult for us to adjust fares because people do not have money," he noted stating that they were looking to have consultations with the government on how to cushion the sector as opposed to adjusting fares upwards.

Kimutai explained that some of the measures they were looking to explore to subsidise public transport included, zero-rating fuel taxes, waving of parking fees by county governments as well as reducing costs on licensing fees for the public service vehicles (PSVs).

He added that the sector had been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic noting that the operationalisation of the industry had been reduced by up to 50 percent and the chances of recovery were low.

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Kimutai further called on clear guidelines and proper communication on how to conduct public transport business moving forward

While easing the restriction, President Uhuru Kenyatta outlined strict restrictions for PSV services even as he stated operators were free to transport passengers and goods across the country.

"The operators will require mandatory certification from Ministry of Health in consultation with the ministry of transport," stated Uhuru.

The matatu chairman stated that the issues on the certificates need to be explained better adding that the terms had not been availed to the sector yet.

"Getting compliant comes at a cost. We want everyone to be responsible since it’s a matter of their own life. Let passengers not allow themselves to be excess, let them carry their own sanitizers. We cannot do sanitization everywhere," he advised. 

During his Monday adddress, Uhuru affirmed that vehicles that would be caught flouting the directives would not be allowed into and out of areas previously placed under lockdown including Nairobi and Mombasa.

In March 2020, after the directive that saw PSV only required to carry 50% of their capacity, matatus doubled their fares citing that the order had restrained their booking.

Matatus at a bus stage. The PSVs were directed not to carry more than 50% of their capacity to adhere to social distancing regulations.
Matatus at a bus stage. The PSVs were directed not to carry more than 50% of their capacity to adhere to social distancing regulations.
Citizen Digital