Matatus owners want Sh4 billion incentive from government to lower bus fare
The Matatu Owners Association (MOA) has announced a 20 per cent increase in fares on all routes with immediate effect following an increase in fuel prices.
The 20 per cent increase in fares due to rising fuel prices will pose a financial challenge to many Kenyans, especially those in the hustle sector who rely heavily on affordable transport.
However, the association has laid down a clear condition to be met by the Kenya Kwanza government that will see prices drastically reduced.
Mr Karakacha has urged the government to consider giving incentives to the matatu industry as a way of warning ordinary Kenyans.
“Even if you are giving incentive to the family and fuel is going up, it is still eating the incentive you gave them. The government should sit down so that they can organize the incentive,” Mr Karakacha said.
“Our incentive will be cheaper compared to whatever incentive they have been giving out to the petroleum companies, which is Sh8 billion…if we can get the incentive of almost Sh4 billion, we will be able to sit down with our members and see how to bring down the fare.”
Following a meeting with the members, Karacha said that the sector has nothing else to do at the moment but to increase fares to meet other costs of daily operation.
“We have been consulting them about the increase of fuel, and we have come up with a way that immediately they need to increase the fare,” Karakacha said.
He admitted that the impact on daily expenses is a concern, and the consultations with the membership indicate that the decision was not made lightly.
“We all know that when the fuel goes up, we will have to pass it to the common mwananchi…we will have to increase the cost of our products so that we do not lose business,” Karakacha said.
According to the chairman, they are now spending about Sh11,000 in a 14-seater matatu, while the 33-seater is costing them Sh16,000 from the initial Sh13,000.
Further, the association has blamed the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) for failing to engage them before reviewing the price.
“Going forward, we will see how to engage them because the common mwananchi is suffering.”
The association CEO, Patricia Mutheu, feared that if the government fails to subsidize fuel, the sector will be negatively affected.
“It’s timely now that we have a national conversation because matatu is the key sector that employs the youth. With the rise in fuel, most of the stakeholders might opt out and there will be a decrease in employment matters,” Ms Mutheu said.