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How matatus are still flouting laws in broad daylight

By Stanley Ongwae | Nov 19th 2018 | 2 min read
A Probox taxi on the Keumbu-Nyamache road in Kisii in the past. Operators are now using back roads to escape the ongoing traffic crackdown. [File]

It is still business as usual for matatu operators in the region even as police intensify their crackdown to enforce traffic rules.

A number of public service vehicles (PSVs) have yet to secure permits from the Transport Licensing Board, their drivers and conductors are still not wearing the mandated uniforms, and they continue to overload passengers in their vehicles.

The drivers of Toyota Probox vehicles, which were supposed to stop operating as PSVs, are now using less busy back roads to beat traffic checkpoints.

The PSV operators have inflated fares, taking advantage of the shortage of roadworthy vehicles in the wake of the crackdown that started last Monday.

A spot check conducted by The Standard revealed that travellers from Nyamira to Kisii town, who used to pay between Sh50 and Sh70, are now being charged between Sh150 and Sh200, depending on the time of the day.

M-Young, Wasafiri, Kinyana and Kimisa, Kihomi and Sirareline saccos are some of the matatu operators who have increased fares.

As is required by law, all the matatu saccos have printed the newly hiked fares and pinned them in the vehicles as the official rates.

The situation has elicited a public outcry, with travellers asking the Government to intervene and restore normalcy.

"While the Government sets its sights on compliance of transport safety rules, there is a need to protect travellers against exploitation through exaggerated fares," said John Kebaso, a human rights activist.

Fare from Migori to Kisii town is now Sh500, up from Sh200, while passengers travelling to Kisii from Rongo are parting with Sh200.

The touts who are determining these fares are stationed at bus parks in Kisii, Keroka, Nyansiongo, Chepilat, Sotik, Keumbu, Rongo, Migori, Sirare and Homa Bay.

Nyamira County Commissioner Isaiah Nakoru said the enforcement agencies were doing a good job in ensuring sanity prevailed and promised a more serious crackdown when the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations were completed.

"It is only a matter of time. We have not optimised the crackdown because of the exams. We are going to ensure sanity prevails and even the errant operators who think they can escape the wrath of the law will have to surrender," Mr Nakoru said.

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