Reduce cost of fuel or we strike, matatu operators say

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020 00:00 |
Matatus parked at a terminus in Nairobi’s central business district. Photo/PD/FILE

Public transport operators have given the government 24 hours to reduce the cost of fuel, insurance premiums and other costs to cushion the sector from losses in the wake of the directive to cut number of passengers to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Operators are also demanding that county governments review downwards monthly charges or they ground all PSV operations.

Matatu and Boda Boda Operators Federation members yesterday said that while the new measures meant to stop the spread of Covid-19 were welcome, they were punitive to them.

Addressing the press yesterday, Secretary General Calvin Nyaure warned that the operators would go on strike if their demands are not met.

“The government has directed us to reduce the number of passengers by 60 per cent, clean the vehicles, install sanitisers and water dispensers. But the cost of fuel, insurance premiums, parking fees and other charges remain the same,” said Nyaure.

Nyaure, who was accompanied by chairman Kushian Muchiri and Boda Boda Association of Kenya chair Charles  Gichira, said if the government does not reduce costs, they will ground their vehicles. 

In Trans Nzoia, operators threatened to ignore the directive to reduce passengers. 

“We are unhappy about the order to reduce passengers without taking into consideration the cost of fuel,” said Peter Mwangi, a matatu owner.

On the Kitale-Nairobi route, fares have gone up from Sh1,000 to Sh1,500, while passengers travelling from Kitale to Bungoma have to part up with Sh400.

In Nyamira, operators said they would stop hiking fares only if the government reduces the cost of fuel and other levies.

In Siaya, matatu operators have defied government directive not to increase fares.

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