The government has put in place measures to make travelling easier during the back-to-school period. This, it says, is to ensure parents, teachers and learners do not encounter logistical nightmares while returning to school today.
While addressing the media at Kenyatta International Convention Centre yesterday, James Macharia, the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure, Housing Urban Development and Public Works, said the measures were meant to ensure children were not stranded when schools reopen.
“We have agreed with players in the transport sector, including chairman of Matatu Owners Association, on three main robust measures, including that all matatu drivers will be tested for alcohol and that they will not drive for long hours, to avoid fatigue, which can increase the risk of accidents. The third is that they will not hike fares because parents have come from a very difficult time due to effects of the pandemic,” said Mr Macharia.
To complement the matatu sector, Macharia said they had also agreed with Kenya Railways management to double the number of train trips from Nairobi to Mombasa and vice versa.
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“Tomorrow (Monday) we shall double the capacity for our intercounty trains. Normally we have one train daily coming to Nairobi from Mombasa, and another going to Mombasa from Nairobi. We have, however, agreed that there will be two trains coming from Mombasa and the same number going to Mombasa. Tomorrow, trains will be dropping our children in the counties along the Mombasa-Nairobi route,” Macharia said.
He added that for the Mount Kenya route, there would be a train from Nairobi to Nanyuki, carrying about 1,500 students and their parents.
“That is not all, we have directed Kenya Railways to make sure we have a full capacity of our intracity commuter railway. We have 20 trains running tomorrow so that students going around the Nairobi Metropolitan have no problem going to school. The trains will be able to carry at least 60,000 passengers to make sure that the students get to school safely and on time,” added the CS.
Meanwhile, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said the government had been spending a lot of time and resources to ensure the schools reopening process was smooth.
“We have brought together all institutions, including Council of Governors, and we have come up with a command centre that will be placed at the Ministry of Interior, with representatives from Ministry of Education, Health, and Teachers Service Commission. The centre will be receiving real-time information from across the country on issues that need to be addressed by all agencies, as we move along,” said Dr Matiang'i.
“We want to have an inclusive conversation and act together, as we ensure that we take care of our children and that resumption of learning in our schools happens effectively,” added CS Matiang’i.