Passenger fights conductor over Sh10 change


A woman boards a matatu through a window as passengers scrambled for space after matatu hiked prices. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

There was drama at Allsops bus terminus along Thika road Thursday morning when a furious passenger engaged in a fist fight with a bus conductor over Sh10.

According to passengers who had boarded the bus that plies the CBD-Thika town route, the conductor had hiked the fare from the usual Sh80 to Sh150.

The hike did not auger well with a majority of the passengers.

"On this route, we usually pay between Sh50 and Sh80 when there is no traffic. The highest fare we pay is Sh100 when things are a bit on the extreme,” Peter Okaro said adding this conductor deliberately decided to overcharge and when he told the other passenger that he did not have Sh10 change, a fight ensued.”

Okaro said that the fight started when the bus stopped for the aggrieved passenger to alight. "When he realised that the conductor will not give him the Sh10 change, he started the fight," said Okaro.

The bus driver ordered the conductor to give the passenger Sh50, instead of Sh10.

At this time, the incident had started attracting onlookers who blamed a section of matatu operators for taking advantage of the recent hike in fuel prices to double fares on the route.

Last week, Mount Kenya Matatu Owners Association chairman Micah Kariuki said they hiked fares after fuel prices went up.

This came only a day after the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) announced a review of fuel prices upward for the period starting September 15 to October 14.

The association announced an increase in price by 30 per cent meaning passengers using the route would now pay between Sh80 and Sh100 up from Sh50.

Those using vans popularly known as Nissans would pay Sh30 more after their fare was increased from Sh100 to Sh130.

But even after alighting, it took the intervention of other passengers to calm the two.

Two bus representatives Kushian Muchiri and Nelson Mwangi for Kenya Mpya and Super Metro called on members of the public to bear with the hike of 30 per cent by PSV vehicles.

Matatu Welfare Association Chairman Dickson Mbugua admitted that operators countrywide were faced with a hard decision on whether to hike fare prices in the country or operate at loss.

Mbugua said the Federation of Public Transport, which he serves as Secretary is considering meeting President William Ruto when he comes back to discuss the issue maintaining that Kenyans have been hit hard by the increase in fuel products.