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Win for seven-seater “matatus” in NTSA row

The Transport Licensing Appeals Board Tribunal has directed the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to provide it with a private hire vehicle public service license.

The tribunal of five members chaired by Dr Adrian Kamotho was formed to listen to the case petitions by seven-seater motor vehicles that ply the Nairobi-Kisumu route against NTSA, the Inspector General of Police, the Traffic Commandant, and the Attorney General.

NTSA had refused to issue it with the requisite licenses on various grounds, one being the vehicles are private and not public and that the licenses required ought to be sought from the county governments and not NTSA.

Also, NTSA had defended its action stating the company would be required to have a yellow band on the side of each motor vehicle as well as to install speed governors for it to meet the requirements set out to deserve the license.

Regulation 4 of the NTSA on Operation of Public Service Vehicles provides that a person shall not operate a public service vehicle without a valid license issued by the authority.

However, the tribunal found out that on the premises of the law and realities within the transport sector, the company’s request for licensing ought to be perceived positively by NTSA.

Further, the tribunal noted that no provision in law proscribes the licensing of the company’s vehicles for the intended mission.

“Indeed, Regulation 5 (2) (b) of the NTSA (Operation of Public Service Vehicles) Regulations, 2014 grants latitude to the 1st Respondent, to at its discretion issue a conditional licence on the requirement that the applicant demonstrates compliance within a stipulated period, failing which the licence shall be withdrawn upon the expiry of the stipulated period,” tribunal’s findings reads.

The order reads that NTSA shall issue the company with a private hire vehicle public service license in line with the requirements and conditions set out in Regulations 5 and 6 of the National Transport and Safety Authority (Operation of Public Service Vehicles) Regulations, 2014.

The company has also been ordered to ensure that all the vehicles are installed with prescribed speed limiters that control speed to a maximum of 80kph, and record and transmit speed data in real-time to the vendors and NTSA’s servers, to enable monitoring of speed violations.

“Ensure that each vehicle within its fleet has an inspection certificate which is valid and in force at all times. Comply with such driving tests as may be prescribed by the 1st Respondent (NTSA) including physical fitness test, eye and hearing test,” the tribunal ruled.

Additionally, the company has been asked to observe prescriptions on maximum driving hours in any period of twenty-four hours.

This comes a few days after Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen issued a warning that all vehicles, including the Noahs and Toyota Wish, will be impounded if found operating without licenses.

The move came following an increasing number of road accidents across the country.

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