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Matatu operators apologise to commuters, call off strike

By Cyrus Ombati | November 12th 2018
Matatu drivers and conductors who were arrested after committing traffic offenses when they appeared before Principal Magistrate Joe Omindo in a Nakuru Law Court on November 12, 2018. [Harun Wathari, Standard]

The umbrella of matatu operators has called off a strike and promised to get back on roads as soon as possible.

The Federation of Public Transport Operators further apologised to commuters and pledged to comply with the rule of law.

The operators had Monday called for a countrywide strike over the reinstatement of Michuki rules by the government.

But after a meeting at Harambee House called by Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho and his Transport counterpart Esther Koimett, the matatu operators said they were sorry for the inconvenience caused on Kenyans.

“We are glad to have had this meeting and have listened to what we have discussed. I apologise to our passengers and we will be back on the road,” said the federation spokesperson Edwin Mukabana.

“We request our people who have complied to return their vehicles to the road. We will bring all issues to the government table for negotiations.”

Kibicho said the operators had agreed to comply with the law.

“We met with leaders of the Federation of Public Transport Operators regarding the ongoing crackdown to improve road safety. I assured them that we're focusing not just on matatus but the whole public transport sector. They agreed to support the Government in this endeavor,” said Kibicho.

 “We have also heard of cartels in the sector and are committed in the next couple of days to clean the stages of these cartels.”

He added that the federation had also brought to their attention the unregulated movement of passengers in proboxes, not subjected to the rules and promised to enforce the ban against illegitimate sector players.

The Interior PS also lauded the federation for their commitment to abide by the traffic laws, adding that a transport consultative forum will be formed within one week to look into areas that need review and fresh approach.

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