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Full capacity: Matatu owners pledge to adhere to new measures

By James Wanzala | August 9th 2021
Passengers are seen boarding matatu at the Green Park Terminus in Nairobi [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Players in the public transport sector have welcomed the new directive to allow them to self-regulate and carry full capacity starting today.

The Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) in the Ministry of Transport Christopher Obure announced the news on Friday after meeting stakeholders.

‘‘We welcome the full capacity directive. We felt neglected when airplanes and trains were allowed to carry full capacity. We do not plan to increase or reduce fares considering the price of fuel has not decreased,’’ said Benard Mbwele, operations manager at Unified Poa Sacco, which plies the Nairobi-Thika route.

Mbwele said the matatus will not have any problem implementing the rules put in place by the government as they are already aware of what is expected of them to curb the spread of Covid-19.

According to Mr Edwin Mukabana, the chairman of the Association of Bus Operators Kenya, over 127,000 workers in the sector lost have lost jobs so far. 

Matatu Owners Association chairman Simon Kimutai welcomed the directive saying matatu owners had lost a lot of income since the pandemic began.

‘‘With the kind of revenue we were getting at 40 per cent, it was unsustainable and the industry was collapsing. Many people have left the sector, jobs lost, vehicles auctioned among other negative impacts. We will play our part in observing the new protocols,’’ said Kimutai.

He called on passengers to do their part in ensuring the measures are observed and also urged traffic police officers to be strict in enforcing the new rules.

‘‘It’s upon us in the matatu sector, public and police to be patriotic by playing our part to reduce the spread of the virus,” he said.

The public transport sector has been hard hit by Covid-19 containment measures since March 2020.

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