Why state now wants to fix matatu fares
The Transport ministry has taken action in a bid to protect the public against exploitation by Public Service Vehicles (PSVs).
The ministry has drafted amendments to the Traffic Act and the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) Act seeking to control fares charged by PSVs across the country.
Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, in a presentation to the National Assembly’s Transport and Housing committee, on Tuesday said the action is aimed at cushioning the public against being overcharged.
PRESENTED TO CABINET
Mr Macharia, who was represented by Chief Administrative Secretary Chris Obure, said the proposals are at an advanced stage with the legal department in the ministry and will soon be presented to the Cabinet for adoption before being presented to Parliament.
The ministry seeks to amend Section 119 (1) of the Traffic Act by introducing a new sub-section that will allow the Cabinet Secretary to prescribe the regulation of PSV fare tariffs.
Once the amendment has been effected, the Cabinet Secretary will have a legal mandate to determine the formulae for establishing the tariff, review mechanism of the tariff and penalty for non-compliance.
The ministry further wants amendment of section 4(2) of the NTSA by introducing a new sub-section that will allow for establishment of PSV fare tariffs.
“The amendments will ensure effective regulation of fare tariffs by the authority similar to the regulation of petroleum process by the Energy Regulatory Commission,” Mr Obure told MPs.
He said the government is aware of exploitation of the public by the transport sector and the amendments are meant to protect the public.
Under the laws that regulate public transport, there is no express provision that enables the authority to regulate fares.
The committee’s chairman, Mr David Pkosing (Pokot South MP), termed the proposals as long overdue, saying the problem of overcharging the public by PSVs is widespread.
The question of overcharging by PSVs was brought to the House by Bomachoge Borabu MP Zadoc Ogutu, who pointed out that in some routes such as Kisii-Mogonga-Magena route, fares were increased by 100 percent following the re-introduction of “Michuki Rules” last year.