Accident brings back debate on construction standards of PSVs

National Transport and Safety Authority
National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) Director General Francis Meja (left) and Deputy Director John Muya during a press conference at NTSA offices on 27/9/2016. [Beverlyne Musili, Standard]
Yesterday's crash that left 56 people dead has revived the debate on the quality of bus assemblage in the country.

The roof of the Western Cross Express bus was ripped off when it crashed, raising familiar questions on the fabrication standards of public service vehicles.

This and past accidents involving PSVs cast the spotlight on shoddy bodywork and the use of inferior materials that easily collapse on impact.

National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) Director General Francis Meja yesterday admitted that there was a problem with the standards of most of the buses on Kenyan roads.

Mr Meja said the roofs and bodies of most buses had no supporting joints, which was why they caved in on impact.

He explained that the authority had come up with new body construction standards referred to as KS372:2014, which took effect on May 22, 2017.

However, stakeholders agreed on a seven-year transition, meaning most of the vehicles on the road still do not conform to the new standards.

Some of the proposed features include anti-rolling bars and reinforcements that prevent the vehicles from crumbling on impact.

Meja told The Standard that the authority may consider reducing the transition period to avert further deaths on the road occasioned by substandard vehicle body parts.

“Any new vehicle being assembled since May is in conformity with the standards. But the challenge is what to do with vehicles assembled before,” he said.

“We may need to have a discussion around the matter and consider reducing the period because if this particular bus was constructed in conformity to the current standards, the crash magnitude would have not been the same,” he said.

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PSV OperatorsWestern Cross ExpressFort Ternan