Matatu Operators Threaten to Hike Fares After Uhuru Opens Borders

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Matatu Operators Threaten to Hike Fares After Uhuru Opens Borders
Matatu Operators Threaten to Hike Fares After Uhuru Opens Borders

Africa-PressKenya. Matatu operators have threatened to hike fares for public service vehicles (PSVs) moving in and out of the five counties that had been previously marked as Covid-19 red zones.

This comes a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta lifted the cessation of movement within the counties of Nairobi, Kiambu, Nakuru, Machakos and Kajiado.

The operators lamented over some of the safety measures such as the 60 percent carrying capacity. They appealed to the government to review the capacity directives imposed on PSVs.

“The matatu sector has been one of the most affected sectors since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country. We urge the government to look into our plight,” one matatu operator stated.

A report by NTV indicated that the extra cost would cater for the high cost of fuel and other expenses. For instance, a section of buses heading to Nairobi from Mombasa noted that they would hike the fare to over Ksh2,000 if their plight is not looked into.

Further, some of the operators are yet to resume business at a time when most operators had initially pleaded with the government to lift the travel ban into the five counties.

They also decried the involvement of private vehicles which they claimed had infiltrated the transport business, therefore, paralyzing their services.

The news comes as Matatu Owners Association (MOA) of Kenya boss Simon Kimutai had issued three demands for lowering fares after Uhuru had imposed the travel ban on the five counties.

He noted that the costs would only be relaxed if the state lowered the high cost of fuel, licensing demands as well as monthly fees all matatus remit to county governments.

“Number one, zero-rating on taxes for our fuel. This would translate to almost Ksh50 or less per Litre. Number two, licensing. When you want to operate, you apply for a license at the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA). That one should be removed.

“Number three is county governments not putting levies on us. Each vehicle pays over Ksh5,000 in Nairobi in a month,” Kimutai stated.

He noted that if the requests are met, the operators would comfortably meet the costs of operations and maintenance of their fleets and hence lower the fares.

“We are not telling them (government) to give us money, We just want to be facilitated in managing some of the costs,” he explained.

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