, NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 9 – Thousands of commuters were Wednesday left stranded for hours following a strike by matatus operators on various routes in Nairobi.
Most of the commuters walked to their places of work and the few matatus on the roads were charging exorbitant fares to the city centre.
Those from Langata and Kariobangi Estate said they had to part with Sh100 which is double the normal fare. Those from the outskirts of the city like Ngong, Ruaka, and Village market were parting with Sh70 instead of normal Sh50 they usually pay, while those from Pangani and Huruma were forced to pay Sh60 up from Sh20
The operators werer complaining over police harassment and new rules on noise pollution.
But by noon, most matatu operators were reported to have resumed operations.
The strike left residents stranded with most opting to walk long distances to get to their places of work. Others were forced to rely on the generosity of private car owners to get to their places of work.
The strike which was called by the Matatu Owners Association however was not successful as some operators on a number of routes were seen continuing with normal operations.
The most affected routes include parts of Eastlands, Kabete, South C, and Langata.
Operations of the public vehicles services have been hampered recently after traffic police officers embarked on operations to rid the roads of unroadworthy vehicles.
A meeting planned for the Uhuru Park was called off after anti-riot police were deployed and cordoned off the park to public.
Members of the public complained that they were inconvenienced by the strike action, with some saying they had missed crucial appointment after they had waited for transportation for hours on end and appealed for dialogue between the police and matatu operators to solve the problem.
As the strike continued, a matatu plying the Eastleigh route was burnt while two on the Dandora route were damaged by stone-throwing mobs.
Kasarani Police Chief Leonard Omolo said they had received reports of some matatu operators intimidating their colleagues who were operating mainly in Eastleigh and parts of Thika road.