Brace for high fares, Matatu owners say

Traffic along Mombasa road. [Elvis Ogina,Standard]

Kenyans have been asked to brace for higher bus fares.

Matatu Owners Welfare Association (MOA) said the fares will increase due to recent increase in fuel cost.

MOA Chairman Simon Kimutai made the announcement Thursday after holding a meeting with sector players.

On Monday, the price of a litre of super petrol and diesel went up by Sh5, thanks to the ongoing Russia/Ukraine crisis that has hit home hard. 

In its latest monthly price review by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), it increased a litre of super petrol to Sh134.72 in Nairobi from Sh129.72 while diesel to Sh115.60 from Sh110.60. 

Justifying the looming rise in cost of transport, Mutai said:

"In a month, one vehicle uses at least 60 liters, that is about Sh20,000 on fuel per vehicle.  And now the price of petrol has risen up to 130 per liter, the first ever to pass that limit,'' said Kimutai.

Mutai said that the meeting agreed that once they have done their cost accounting well, they should pass the fuel cost to consumers of the services.

"...and therefore Kenyans (passengers) must brace themselves for fare hike,'' said Mutai.

He said this is the only way pressure will be exerted on the government to subsidise the cost.

Kimutai said the sector facilitates economic activities but no one cares about them in terms of subsidies.

The association also condemned the recent extortion by law enforcers during the recent crackdown that has now been suspended.

''It is unfortunate that the police officers instead of enforcing traffic laws have turned into extortionists, even when the matatus are compliant,'' said Kimutai.

He asked the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC ) to intervene and arrest the officers since police cannot arrest themselves and also know and talk to each other.

He blamed senior police bosses for being part of the criminal activity, saying they use the junior officers to extort.

Kimutai said attempts to complain have resulted in suspension of their licenses, number plates are taken away, some arrested and taken to court with trumped-up charges.