BY PETER MURIMA
The Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan must handle the Public Transport carefully. The Minister should be wary not to play into the hands of a clique with vested interests out to dislodge other vehicle Owners from the lucrative Nairobi Transport business.
Unwary to the Minister there has been a wider scheme (for some time now) to ban Japanese mini vans and introduce “new buses” through a ploy to fight traffic jam within Nairobi and environs. For his information there is underlying contention between several players in public Transport with well known multinational Motor vehicle sellers, Importers of Used Vehicles and other makes fighting to dominate the lucrative Public Service Transport.
The plan to phase out the 14 Seater Matatus first in the city followed by upcountry would not only be retrogressive but unpopular as the 14 Seater has revolutionized for the better passenger Transport in the urban and countryside. Many Passengers prefer the 14 seaters and their views should not be ignored. Outdated road network and unsystematic PSV management has been always the cause of Traffic congestion buses being the worst If what is happening at Kencom, GPO, racecourse is anything to go by.
The Multi-Billion Public Transport industry is a major employer of young persons as Drivers and conductors besides earning just incomes for hundred thousand of Vehicle Owners, therefore any radical change can only be made after wide consultations. Keeping legitimate players out of Important National Transport policies does not augur well for fair and free market spirit.
Unilateral Plans to ban 14 seater PSVs will have far reaching effect to a big number of those employed in addition to denying passengers of the comfort synonymous with the 14 seater. Mini vans are not only known for there versatility but also easy maneuverability in city narrow roads.
Mismanagement mistakes at the old guards hands should not mean an emergency now to subjectively reintroduce an exclusive sectarian bus system. Buses are known to be had to fill passengers and sluggish to pick speeds.
Franchise bus system is not different from ordinary vehicle ownership because buses are still run by individuals.
The recommended buses will be unaffordable with ownership exclusive to its engineers’ specifications.
Our view is unless it is the government owning the public companies it should keep off.
Assisting some brands and franchises to keep out Kenyans out of a National Industry is ill-advised.
NCBD shuttle system exclusive business should always be subjected to competitive biding.
(Mr Murima is the Chairman of the Motorist Association of Kenya)