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Commuters and PSV operators feel the pinch of increased fuel prices

Barely five days after the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) announced an increment of fuel prices following the enactment of the Finance Act, Kenyans are already heaving under the weight of increased prices of basic commodities.

Epra announced the new fuel prices despite a court order barring the Act from taking effect in all sectors of the economy.

Public transport has been particularly affected, given that the Finance Act includes a standard rate of 16 per cent Valued Added Tax (VAT) on fuel products.

A passenger boards a matatu belonging to Lopha Sacco at Odeon Cinema along Tom Mboya Street on July 5, 2023. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

Also read: Fares go up by 30 per cent across the country

On Tuesday, the Matatu Owners Association (MOA) announced a 30 per cent increase in fare following the new fuel prices.

A spot-check by Nairobi News on several matatu stages and termini within the CBD revealed that many saccos are still waiting for instructions from their respective management on the new fares.

Public Service Vehicles (PSV) plying various routes queue for passengers along Kenneth Matiba Road on July 5, 2023. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

“We have had to adjust our fares depending on the time of the day. The high cost of fuel has greatly impacted on our daily cash flow,” said Edwin Mwaura, an employee of Lopha Sacco, which operates between Nairobi to Ruiru, Thika and Juja.

A similar situation was evident at Kiambu stage where officials from Triple S Sacco, who spoke to Nairobi News, appealed to the government to bring down the cost of fuel.

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“The high cost of fuel is negatively impacting us – drivers and touts – since our salaries are no longer enough to feed our families. Bare in mind that police officers and county officers milk so much from matatu operators on a daily basis. At the end of the day, we are left with nothing to take home,” said Joseph Mwangi, who has worked as a Citi Shuttle driver for the last 15 years.

Mr Mwangi said he has had to adjust fares upwards from Sh30 to Sh50 for passengers travelling to Kikuyu from the CBD during off-peak hours. He also said he now spends an extra Sh1,000 for fuel for his 60-seater bus.

Matatus belonging to Supreme Shuttle Sacco queue for passengers at the Kenneth Matiba Road terminus on July 5, 2023. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

PSVs plying routes out of the city to destinations like Nakuru, Nyeri, Meru have similarly increased fares by at least Sh50 from the normal rate.

Another driver with Supreme Shuttle Sacco said he now spends Sh7,000 up from Sh5,300 daily for a one-round trip from Nairobi to Nakuru and back.

The driver lamented reduced daily earnings for drivers and vehicles owners alike. He said he now only takes home about Sh500 for a day’s work.

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