Board orders NTSA to issue PSV license to firm

NTSA official removes a car's number plate during a crackdown on unroadworthy vehicles along Lang'ata Road. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The Transport Licensing Appeals Board has directed the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to issue a public service vehicle license to Samper Cabs Limited, to enable it to operate its fleet of vehicles on the Nairobi-Kisumu route. 

The decision, delivered by Tribunal Board Chairperson Adrian Kamotho, follows a protracted legal battle between Samper Cabs Limited and the NTSA over licensing requirements and jurisdictional issues.

"That, without prejudice to other statutory obligations, the appellant shall comply with the following requirements: Page 11 of 11 a) Install prescribed speed limiters that control speed to a maximum of 80kph, record and transmit speed data in real-time to the vendors and 1st Respondent’s servers, to enable monitoring of speed violations,” the board ruled on Monday. 

Samper Cabs Limited, with a fleet of 67 motor vehicles, sought a license to operate as PSVs. The NTSA initially refused to issue the necessary license, arguing that the vehicles fell under the purview of county governments. 

However, the board ruled in favour of Samper Cabs Limited, asserting that the vehicles in question, categorized as "private hire vehicles" under the Traffic Act, indeed fall within the regulatory scope of the NTSA.

Dr Kamotho emphasized that no PSV should ply Kenyan roads without the approval of the NTSA, and failure to license such vehicles would constitute neglect of statutory duties.

“Ensure that each vehicle within its fleet has an inspection certificate, which is valid and in force at all times. Comply with such driving tests as may be prescribed by the first respondent, including physical fitness test, eye and hearing test,” the board ruled adding, “Ensure that the fleet of vehicles is well maintained and never in a dirty or neglected condition.” 

Furthermore, the board outlined specific licensing requirements under the NTSA (Operation of Public Service Vehicles) Regulations, 2014, which Samper Cabs Limited must adhere to. These requirements include having a minimum fleet size, employing designated staff, implementing a code of conduct, and maintaining operational and safety standards. 

The ruling highlighted the importance of regulating public transport to ensure safety, reliability, and efficiency in road transport services. The decision also addressed concerns about unlicensed operators, emphasizing the need for compliance to maintain public safety and fair market competition. 

Under the directives issued by the board, Samper Cabs Limited is required to install speed limiters, ensure vehicle inspections and maintenance, comply with driving tests and insurance requirements, and observe driving hour regulations. The company is also prohibited from operating vehicles with tinted windows or engaging in touting. 

The NTSA has been instructed to comply with the board's orders and proceed with the issuance of the required license to Samper Cabs Limited in accordance with the stipulated regulations.

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