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Those were the days when sanity reigned on roads

By | Oct 1st 2009 | 2 min read

The so-called ‘Michuki Rules’ were introduced in 2004 by the then Transport Minister John Michuki to enhance discipline and streamline operations in public transport sector.

When the rules were implemented, there were protests from the matatu operators who termed them impossible to live with.

That was after Michuki ordered all Public Service Vehicles (PSV) crews to wear uniforms, display their passport-sized picture on the dash board and to install safety belts and speed governors to limit speed to 80 km per hour. He also scaled down seats for small matatus to 14 from 18, ordered branding with a yellow line and labeling of route names on the vehicle.

"I want passengers to sleep in the vehicles when they are on the move and there is no going back on that," he said then.

Michuki then ordered that safety belts and speed governors be of imported quality.

But when the time of implementing the rules came, matatu operators countrywide went on strike in protest. However, that did not deter Michuki form enforcing the rules as he stuck to his guns and ordered police to arrest any of the operators who resumed business without observing the rules.

The operators could not sustain their boycott. They slowly returned to the roads after refurbishing their vehicles and complying with the rules.

To ensure conformity, Michuki himself conducted random checks on the roads by boarding some of the matatus. This raised his profile amongst many as the rules led to a reduction of road accidents in the country.

However, the sector is seen to have thrown discipline out of the matatus windows and trashed the rules since Michuki was moved from the ministry in 2006.

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