, NAIROBI, Kenya, February 16 – Commuters should now brace for higher fares after the Matatu Welfare Association effected a 30 percent rise on various routes following a hike in fuel pump prices.
Chairman Dickson Mbugua said on Wednesday that their expenses had soared forcing them to take the unpopular measure.
He however called on PSV operators to exercise fairness and be reasonable when coming up with new fares.
“We know that we have off peak periods, particularly in town and other urban centres and that is why we are saying that it should be applicable across all the routes,” he said.
He was speaking during a press conference in Nairobi where he also called on the Energy Regulatory Commission to prevail on the government to reduce taxes in the industry.
“There is no businessman who would absorb the cost and keep quiet. There is need for the government to also look into reducing either the VAT or Duty tax so that the effect is not felt by the matatu operators,” he stated.
Mr Mbugua also expressed support for a directive by the government for Public Service Vehicles to adopt a system of access which will give physically challenged persons easy entrance to the vehicles.
He however said that while the initiative was timely, the City Council of Nairobi should take the front row by building well designed bus stops with ramps where buses and matatus can easily pick up and drop disabled citizens along the main PSV routes.
Public Service Vehicle owners had been given one year to redesign their vehicles to allow persons with disabilities to board them easily by complying with the Disability Act of 2003 by next year.
The Act under Article 23 states: "An operator of a Public Service Vehicle shall adapt it to suit persons with disabilities in such a manner as may be specified by the Council.
"This may see public transport operators put up an inclined plane on vehicles to allow disabled persons using wheel chairs or other devices easily get on board.
Most vehicles have a staircase of three steps and a narrow door that prevents disabled persons using enabling devices from gaining easy access.
The Act also under Article 22 requires all buildings to put in place suitable features to cater for the disabled by 2015.
At the same time, Mr Mbugua termed the provision to have dustbins in matatus and buses as an environmental requirement saying that it will go a long way in ensuring the industry keeps the surroundings clean for habitation.
He nonetheless pointed out that the use of plastic bags was more practical as it made management easier.
“In support to this directive, our thinking is slightly different in that we feel the use of plastic paper bags is less costly and cumbersome instead of a fixed dustbin in a PSV,” he stated.
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