, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 5 – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday lifted a blanket ban on licensing of 14-seater Public Service Vehicles for long distances and rural areas but excluded Nairobi and Mombasa.
He explained that the ban was left in the two major cities in a bid to reduce road congestion that negatively impacts the economy and hampers accessibility.
“After wide consultations and research involving my government and stakeholders, it has become clear that a blanket ban, especially for long distance and rural transport, may not be appropriate at this time,” he said at the launch of the cashless 1963 card for PSVs set to be effected on December 1, 2014. READ: Uhuru ditches limo, pays Sh30 matatu fare into CBD.
He said the move was prompted by the need to allow operators continue investing in the sector by acquiring roadworthy and safer vehicles.
“This ban will not be implemented to ensure that operators continue to invest in new, roadworthy and therefore, safer transport for rural and long distance routes,” he added.
The president urged players in the public transport sector to support and comply with government efforts to reduce congestion through the elimination of low capacity vehicles in major cities.
He said all stakeholders must work within the legal framework and invest aggressively, especially in the Bus Rapid System, under which buses will use their own specific lanes.
President Kenyatta also gave owners of double-cabin vans reprieve after categorising their vehicles as family utility cars.
“Having considered public appeals and consulted appropriately, it is time for government to review the category of this type of vehicle in order to recognise it as private, not commercial vehicle,” he stated.
On the cashless system, President Kenyatta pointed out that it will increase accountability in the sector since all financial records can be accessed easily.
He further noted that the digitisation of the transport sector will also reduce corruption on the roads as many PSV operators are reported to bribe traffic officers when found with an offence.
President Kenyatta also allowed the return of graffiti and artworks on Public Service Vehicles but said they should not reduce visibility due to security concerns.
“I personally do not see anything wrong with the artwork and creativity in matatus and we should surely support our youth to do business with their talents, as long as it does not interfere with driver’s vision and other regulations,” he stated.
The new system was welcomed by investors in the industry among them Bishop Margaret Wanjiru who says it will bring order in the transport sector.
“Apart from the investor themselves having the (financial) records, the bank or the supporting infrastructure that has been given for this cashless system is going to give us the statement,” she stated.
The former legislator noted that, “whether you have your book keeping in order or not, you will be able to get the information from the card cashless system.”
Matatu Owners Association Chairman Simon Kimutai assured President Kenyatta of his commitment to streamline the sector which provides employment to thousands of youths.
He noted that majority of investors in the sector cannot account for 30pc of their revenues a trend he is optimistic will change under the yet to be implemented system.
“Use of cash has attracted so many people but this will be no more with the cashless system…carjacking is also encouraged by the availability of money,” he stated.
Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau assured that “we will make the Kenya transport system a global case study very soon, we are on course.”