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Matatu operators threaten to hike fare over new fuel prices

By Carren Papai | March 16th 2021
Matatu Association Chairman Simon Kimutai (PHOTO: FILE)

NAIROBI, KENYA: Matatu and bodaboda operators will soon be forced to hike fare due to the rise in fuel prices.

The National Chairman for Matatu Association Simon Kimutai has criticised the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) move to increase prices of petroleum products accusing the regulator of neglecting the plight of the matatu operators.

In an interview, Kimutai noted the industry is still smarting from the Covid-19 restrictions which has reduced the earnings of many operators.

He warned that the operators countrywide will soon announce new transport fares if the government will not stop the implementation of the new prices announced on Sunday.

Motorists will up to April 14 pay more for Petrol and Diesel following adjustment by Sh7.63 and Sh5.75 per litre respectively.

Kerosene users will pay more per litre by Sh5.41.

Speaking to Standard Digital, Kimutai called on president Uhuru Kenyatta to craft a long-term solution for the matatu operators.

''Matatu sector over the years has been helping to improve the economy so it is upon the government to exempt the operators from paying taxes lest we raise transport fares soon, as we have been pushed beyond our limits'', said Kimutai.

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Kimutai also stated the need for the government to stop implementing Covid-19 protocols in the transport sector saying they have been incurring loses and it has adversely affected the sector.

He asserted the need to allow his members to carry the normal number of passengers if at all the government will go on implementing the new fuel prices.

''There is no need to keep forcing operators to reduce the number of passengers if we are still forced to dig deep into our pockets to purchase fuel,'' he added.

His sentiments have been backed by bodaboda operators who have urged the government to consider their plight, especially during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Speaking separately, the motorbike operators led by their Chairman Felix Omondi said due to stiff competition in the industry, they have been counting loses as they can't immediately raise the fare to match the new prices.

Omondi says due to the high cost of living in the country they have resorted to empathising with the customers even at the expense of their businesses.

'' You can't just ignore someone pleading with you to carry him even with less money and if you do, a fellow operator near you will just take the offer, our hands are tied,'' noted Omondi.

Just like Omondi Philemon Lang'at a fellow bodaboda has said they can't meet the target set by their bosses and hence most of them have been going home without pay.

He has appealed to the government to allow them at least to work at night to help compensate the losses incurred due to the raised fuel prices.

Following the Sunday fuel adjustment by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority, motorists in Nairobi pay Sh122.81 for a litre of Super Petrol, Sh107.66 for a litre of diesel and Sh97.85 for a litre of Kerosene.

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