The Government now says Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) can carry passengers to capacity.
Addressing the press on Friday, August 6, the Ministry of Transport through the Cabinet Administrative Secretary (CAS) Chris Obure, stated that PSVs will resume pre-covid-19 operation modes starting Monday, August 9.
This was after a meeting between the Ministry and the Matatu Sacco where an MOU was signed for the PSVs to self regulate.
Matatu operators revealed they had lost Ksh31 billion since March 2020, when the government issued new measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
In March 2020 the government issued new directives to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus through public means of transport.
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe gave guidelines that aimed at reducing congestion in public service vehicles.
The CS announced that 14-seater matatus would carry a maximum of eight passengers; 25-seater vehicles a maximum of 15 passengers, 30 seater vehicles and above to maintain a sixty per cent maximum sitting capacity.
He further informed that the new guidelines issued would similarly extend to the Standard Guage Railway (SGR) and commuter trains plying through the country every single day.
Kagwe further told Kenyans that the reason for the decision on Matatus was to create personal space between passengers and called for co-operation.
“When this happens, it is expected that people will adhere to the directions of the PSV operators. In other words, there is no point in having eight people and then two people are sitting close together and leaving the other seats open,” he warned.
But the directive did not come without opposition from the matatu sector and a hike in fare prices by the PSVs. In May 2021, just a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta lifted the cessation of movement within the counties the operators threatened to increase fares.
The operators lamented over some of the safety measures such as the 60 per cent carrying capacity as they appealed to the government to review the capacity directives imposed on PSVs.
They argued that the extra cost would cater for the high cost of fuel and other expenses. For instance, a section of buses heading to Nairobi from Mombasa noted that they would hike the fare to over Ksh2,000 if their plight is not looked into.
Matatu Owners Association (MOA) of Kenya boss Simon Kimutai had issued three demands for lowering fares after Uhuru had imposed the travel ban on the five counties.
He noted that the costs would only be relaxed if the state lowered the high cost of fuel, licensing demands as well as monthly fees all matatus remit to county governments.
Sourced from Kenyans.co.ke