Transport Ministry Cabinet Secretary James Macharia’s plan to regulate public service vehicle fares has been rejected by the Matatu Association union.
Speaking to the media, the National Organizing Secretary of the Federation of Public Transport, Dickson Mbugua noted that the CS’s plan will not work in their favour asserting that they should be left to operate in line with supply and demand laws.
Mbugua stated: “The exchange control and regulation laws, which capped commodity prices, were repealed in the 1990s through Parliament, giving way to soko huru (fee market), which we have today.
“So, if the ministry is moving a bill to regulate fares, I challenge them to include those of air transport, taxi services and cargo transport, including the Standard Gauge Railway,” Mbugua asserted.
Mbugua’s sentiments were reiterated by his counterparts Simon Kimutai, Matatu Owners Association Chairman and Matatu Transport Vehicle Association Secretary-General Richard Kanoru.
Kimutai also noted: “I don’t understand how the government wants to control transport, which is privately run, without consultation. The CS thinks there is exploitation, but he will retreat once he realizes that it is already a loss-making venture.”
He added that the CS’s plan was uninformed and it is a target to their sector.
In his view, Mr Kinoru called that the ministry’s plan is an aim to get rid of matatus and replace them with bus rapid transit system.
“Though we greatly abhor the tendency by some crews to hike fares unnecessarily, the government should take a participatory approach to avoid creating unnecessary tension in the sector,” he stated.
The three further cautioned that they will vehemently protest the implementation of such an idea.
CS Macharia had told MPs that his office had drafted a proposal that will ensure that matatu fares are regulated to ensure that passengers are not exploited.
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