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County officers clash with boda boda operators as matatus defy Sacco regulation

By Josphat Thiong'o | Published Mon, June 11th 2018 at 14:11, Updated June 11th 2018 at 14:30 GMT +3
Police Commissioner in charge of operations in the traffic department Mary Omari (R) talks to a boda boda operator. [Standard]

Despite arrests and tough talk from City Hall, Matatu operators are yet to abide to the recent ban and directive dictating that only two vehicles per Sacco will be allowed into city stages.

This is in sharp contrast with their boda boda counterparts who have now steered clear of the Central Business District just days after Nairobi County officers arrested 60 boda boda riders in the town centre for flouting traffic rules.

A spot check by The Standard revealed that the mode of operation in all city stages, reserve for a few, was that they were still congested with Matatus scrambling for passengers like they were ‘human gold’.

At the commercial bus station where buses and Nissan vehicles pick and drop passengers plying the Embakasi route, congestion and confusion was still apparent. As one bus picks passengers, two others behind it are dropping passengers and quickly scramble to be next in line.

“The idea of two vehicles per Sacco at the stage is just impractical because for that to work there must be clearly built and gazetted holding points. Authorities have also been extorting us in the name of allowing us to continue with our operations and it must come to an end,” said Justus, a driver.

The situation was replicated at the Afya Centre stage, Koja bus station, Odeon, Kencom, Ambassador as well as the Railway Station, telling of a deep rooted problem that will not be solved by mere directives that lack clear implementation.

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In May, Mbaya had directed that each vehicle will only be granted five minutes in the allocated slots to drop and pick passengers. He however indicated that matatu Saccos would have to look for their own holding spaces as the county provision is to provide picking and dropping spots.

On the flipside, an intensified crackdown on boda bodas coupled with a new set of regulations to govern their operations has seen the bikers steer clear of the central business district.

City Hall’s director of operations, Peter Mbaya has in the last four days spearheaded a two-week operation aimed at decongesting the City.

“All of our officers will be in uniform while carrying out the crack down to deter imposters from harassing the riders,” said Mbaya.

In the new set of rules developed by the County administration in conjunction with the boda boda association, the riders operations have been limited to the periphery of the CBD.

They are not to go past Railways bus station, globe cinema roundabout, OTC stage and Uhuru Park. 

Instead, the riders can only access Kirinyaga Road, University Way, Uhuru Highway, Haile Sellasie and Race Course Road.

Mbaya indicated that both the rider and the pillion passenger will be arrested if found operating in the CBD and each charged Sh50, 000 at the city court.

As part of the new rules the riders are required to have licences and identification badges, and wear branded reflective jackets bearing their membership numbers.

They are also required to carry just one passenger, to stay off pavements, stop at traffic lights, insure their motorcycles and adhere to all other rules.

Boda boda riders will also not be stopped by uniformed officers unless these officers are in the company of their uniformed colleagues.


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