Matatu fares set to go up over new taxes

Matatu Owners Association chairman Albert Karakacha addressing the media in Nairobi on July 4, 2023. [Denis Kibuchi, Standard]

Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) will increase fares by between 10-20 per cent starting Wednesday, July 5, Matatu Owners Association (MOA) has said.

The increase in fares has been necessitated by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority's (EPRA) move to effect the new taxes on petroleum products as captured in the Finance Act, 2023.

In a statement on Tuesday, July 4, MOA attributed the matatu fare hike to the latest increase in fuel prices, which saw the commodity hit a record high of Sh195 per litre.

“As matatu operators, we have been grappling with mounting financial pressures, especially the hike in fuel prices that threatens the viability of our businesses,” MOA noted.

“Effective July 5, 2023, passengers can expect a moderate increase of between 10-20 per cent of the current fares charged across the various routes, including town service and long-distance travels." 

The matatu owners have vowed to issue a more detailed guideline on the new pricing formulae, adding that the changes will affect both town service and long-distance vehicles.

Besides the fuel price hike, the matatu owners also say an increase in operational expenses such as the cost of spare parts and loan interests are also some of the reasons for the pricing adjustment.

“The decision to effect this fare hike was not taken lightly, and we understand the potential impact on commuters and the wider public. However, it is essential to strike a balance between maintaining a reliable and efficient transport system and addressing the economic realities faced by matatu owners,” said MOA. 

Last week, Azimio leader Raila Odinga called on Kenyans to boycott taxes and highly taxed goods and services.

The opposition leader asked matatu operators to carry excess capacity at the same price, as he called on the police to ignore the bent rules. He also urged Kenyans to walk where possible.