NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 26 – Matatu and Boda Boda operators have warned of a 60 percent fare hike if the Government will not cushion them from the drastic measures issued to curb the spread of coronavirus.
In their list of demands, the operators want the Government to exempt them from monthly levies since their returns are already strained due to the requirement to carry fewer passengers.
While addressing journalists in Nairobi, the Matatu and Bodaboda operator’s federation Chairperson Kushian Muchiri says the Government should also reduce fuel prices.
“All heads of Saccos and transport companies from today, half of your fleet remains parked at home. It does not make business sense to have a thousand matatus on the road while there are no passengers,” he said.
Boda Boda Association of Kenya Secretary-General Kenneth Onyango has decried the move by some counties to ban their operations despite them observing precautionary measures put in place by the Health Ministry.
“This morning we have seen counties such as Machakos overstepping their jurisdiction. Some bodaboda operators work best during the night but now with the curfew, we will not earn our daily bread. As we are fighting this pandemic, we need our survival to be addressed,” he pointed out.
Last week, Health Cabinet secretary Mutahi Kagwe ordered for all Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) to limit the number of passengers to prevent the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus.
Kagwe directed 14-seater vehicles to ferry a maximum of 8 passengers while those with a capacity of 25 to only ferry 15 passengers. The rest including the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) has a 60 percent occupancy.
The move, the CS said, is meant to ensure the government’s directive of 1.5 meters distance is adhered to.
He also directed all PSVs to maintain high levels of cleanliness.
“It is expected that the people will adhere to the directives of matatu operators. The idea is to stay as far away as possible from each other,” he said.
PSVs are further supposed to clean their vehicles after every trip and provide sanitizers for passengers.
More than three billion people around the world were living under lockdown on Wednesday as governments stepped up their efforts against the coronavirus pandemic which has left more than 21,000 people dead.