NAKURU: The second phase of de-congesting Nakuru town's Central Business District (CBD) has hit a snag after the county government ran out of space to relocate matatu operators.
According the County Minister Roads, Public Works and Transport Joel Maina relocation of public service vehicles ferrying passengers from Nakuru to other parts of the country has been put off indefinitely due to lack of an alternative sites.
"Our plans was to ensure that vehicles ferrying passengers to the same destination share a common terminus to avoid a situation where there are several termini serving the same route," he said Tuesday.
Responding to protest by a section of matatu operators over claims of biasness in allocating matatu termini and bus stages, Eng. Maina urged them to be patient as the county government finds a suitable location that would accommodate most of them.
Early this year the county government carried out the first phase of the town decongesting exercise, which saw hundreds of street vendors removed from the CBD where they had occupied pavements, way-lanes and building corridors-converting them to business premises.
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The second phase that was to involve the relocation of PSVs from the CBD was marred with controversy after some of them were removed- sparking a row with the county government.
Operators plying the Nakuru-Baringo route had protested their relocation out of the central business district saying the decision by the county government was unilateral and was meant at driving them out of business.
"It is not logical for the county government to move a section of operators and leave the other group to operate from the CBD. The county must exercise fairness when dealing with all operators," said Reuben Kipyegon, a member of one of the Saccos plying the route.
But Maina said they met all the operators last week and deliberated on most of the issues they raised.
"There was a misunderstanding regarding the groups that ply the Baringo route but we agreed on how they will operate from their new locations. The county government does not discriminate on any business people. They all pay taxes," he said.
Matatu Owners Association chairman Stephen Muli confirmed that they met Maina and Lands CEC, Rachel Maina and expressed their dissatisfaction with the unilateral decisions.
"We are afraid that we were not fully involved in the relocation plan that was aimed at decongesting the town's CBDs by providing alternative termini for the matatus. The process has been marred by hitches as mutual agreements were not reached," said Muli.
"We the leaders are ready to work with the county government in streamlining operations in the town to oversee smooth transition in the matatu industry but more consultation need to take place," Muli added.
He said the operators were committed in ensuring smooth flow of traffic in and out of the CDB but want the county government to move fast and find a suitable location where they can operate from.
"There is an issue about space but we are all in agreement that vehicles plying the same route must be allocated a common place rather than the current haphazard arrangement where they operate from different locations within the CBD," he said.
Most of the matatu Saccos operate within the CBD where they have opened offices in building and park their vehicles on the streets-causing congestion and impeding free flow of traffic.
Among the Saccos that have offices within the CBD are Mololine Prestige Shuttle, Prestige Shuttle, 2 NK shuttle, Nyakakima Line, Nairobi Line, Njoro Line and Northway.