Matatu operators clinging onto 14-seaters

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 29 – The Matatu Welfare Association (MWA) has called on the government to rescind the 14 seater phase out policy and allow market forces to drive the gradual transition to bigger the public service vehicles (PSV).

The association’s Chairman Dickson Mbugua said with most 14 seater investors unable to afford the required bigger buses in a limited amount of time, the transition for most is not feasible and would lead to major job losses.

“The price of a 37-seater bus now is Sh4.2 million. How many of the 14 seater owners can afford the Sh2.1 million, 50 percent deposit for a bus? The existence of the 14 seater alongside the buses should be allowed,” he asserted.

The MWA estimates that 500,000 persons will be out of work in the next two years if the policy is to go through this year.

The Transport Licensing Board (TLB) stopped issuing new licenses for 14-seaters in January last year in a move to decongest the roads by bringing in higher capacity PSVs.

Following their general meeting on 11th January 2012 the MWA gave the Transport Minister two months to reverse the policy.

“We gave an ultimatum of two months. Failure to which we may end up going to the court to seek a judicial review on the policy,” Mbugua said.

He further urged the government to allow registration for new 14 seaters adding that improved infrastructure was a necessary component in easing the congestion on the roads.

“The government needs to create bus rapid transport system so that along the improved bus terminus we will have the corridor for the buses as well as a corridor for the 14 seater and the train,” he said.

As part of the Vision 2030 transportation plan to improve accessibility within the metropolitan region a new bus system has been formulated with designated bus lanes.

The bus rapid transit system will start with three transport corridors; Athi River town to Kikuyu town, Thika to the central business district (CBD) and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to the CBD.

Victoria Rubadiri

Victoria Rubadiri

Victoria is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism. She has experience working as a freelance PR consultant in New Jersey and New York, as well as broadcast media at WMGM NBC 40 television station in Linwood, New Jersey. Her interests are in youth issues; mentoring teens both in the US and Kenya, for the past three years.