NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 1 – The government will no longer issue PSV (Public Service Vehicle) licences to individual matatus and buses from January next year.
Transport Minister Amos Kimunya said on Monday that licenses would henceforth be issued only to Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) and companies in a move that is aimed at streamlining the PSV sector in the country.
According to the Minister, the change in policy also seeks to create a more efficient means of mass transport in order to ease traffic jams and make public transport the preferred mode of movement.
Under the new regime, preference will be given to operators in associations, with each association being assigned a specific route to manage.
“What we are saying is that we need to start moving away from a single operator, to where specific routes are owned by a group of people who you can then entrust with the lives of passengers,” Mr Kimunya said.
The introduction of the new licencing regime will come alongside the phasing out of 14-seater vehilces to the 40-seater buses. From January the Ministry will stop issuing PSV licences to 14-seater matatus.
The Transport Minister said his office was in consultation with industry stakeholders who have suggested a transition period where 33-seater vehicles will be used before making the move to the 40-seaters.
“As a transitional measure I will be willing to look at every good proposal so that we are not being punitive but moving in the right direction. Part of the reason we are getting rid of the 14-seaters is their behaviour on the road,” he said.
The initiative also looks to create an ideal environment for scheduled bus transportation. He was speaking during a Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) workshop with the Minisrty of Transport.
Also speaking at the workshop, Matatu Owners Association Chairman Simon Kimutai urged the ministry to allow standing passengers in buses operating short trips within the city.
“From a place like Kenyatta (hospital) to the CBD the bus will never exceed 35kph so why not have vehicles that don’t necessarily have safety belts and people can also stand during their trips like people do in other developed parts of the world?” Mr Kimutai proposed.