Nairobi News

Must Read

Residents in despair as matatus keep off city roads

Thousands of Nairobi residents walked to work on Tuesday morning while others were stranded as the new rules designed to streamline the chaotic matatu industry came into force.

Only a handful of Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) were operating and they were charging double or triple the fare.

“We normally pay Sh20 to town but we were charged between Sh80 and Sh100 today,” said Ms Monicah Njeri from Jericho.

It was a scramble getting into the vehicles and those who were not strong enough opted to use the already overcrowded commuter trains. 

Those who could not find space in the trains opted for private cars and this caused heavy traffic jams on all major roads in the city. 

Mombasa, Jogoo, Outering, Lang’ata, Ngong and Mbagathi roads were particularly affected. Even Thika Superhighway was not spared. 

Tuktuk and bodabodas did a roaring business after raising fares.

Most commuters expressed disappointment at PSV operators who waited until the last minute to comply with the new regulations. 

For commuters who could not afford the exorbitant charges, walking to work seemed to be the only viable option.

The High Court on Monday ruled against an application by matatu owners that had sought to have implementation of the new rules suspended.

Matatu Welfare Association (MWA) chairman Dickson Mbugua was also in court yesterday seeking an extension of the deadline to comply with the stringent rules.

“We have told them to keep their vehicles at home for a day or two as we challenge the regulations in court,” he told NairobiNews.

As survival tactic, some cunning matatu operators who had not complied with the regulations ferried early birds at around 5am but later grounded the vehicles to avoid the long arm of the law.

Among the new rules is the requirement that all PSVs be fitted with digital speed governors and that they should operate in saccos of not less than 30 serviceable vehicles. 

There were long matatu queues in most Nairobi garages, especially those at Industrial Area as PSV owners waited for their turn to have the speed limiters fixed.

Handling dozens

Likoni, Lunga Lunga and Enterprise roads experienced heavy traffic snarl ups as PSVs queued at the Inspection headquarters workshop.

As of Monday evening, 10,000 PSVs had been fixed with the gadget at the workshop, according to the directorate of Motor Vehicle Inspection, Mr Gerald Wangai. 

“The workshop is still handling dozens of vehicles which have been brought for both the new speed governor and for the ordinary annual inspection,” he said, adding that they were doing all they could to clear the backlog. 

The Court will decide today on whether to stop enforcement of the new rules.