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Societies to bear brunt of errant matatu drivers

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 1 – The Ministry of Transport is in the process of formulating a policy that will impose heavy penalties on Matatu Sacco\’s if Public Service Vehicles under their fold cause accidents.

Minister Amos Kimunya said on Friday that heavy fines will be imposed on the cooperative societies and their licences revoked if the number of offences by matatus it represents increase.

He explained that this was part of ongoing efforts to transform the transport industry to reduce the number of road accidents on Kenyan roads.

"What we want is to make sure that people do not have those problems in the first place. We will do this by ensuring that the driving standards are improved," he said.

He was speaking during a Matatu Owners Association Annual General meeting where he pointed out that drivers would be paying hefty fines for road offences in a bid to foster safe driving.

"The best thing is not to start asking for instant fines because those who are asking for them used to think that should they commit an offence, they will be given a fine and then go their way," he cautioned. "Even if he is drunk he is given a fine which he pays and then gets back into his car and commits the crime again. We have not solved the problem."

Speaking during the occasion, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said there was need to set up matatu academies to educate operators on appropriate road behaviour.

The Vice President observed that schools should focus on the need to uphold traffic regulations and abide by them.

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He said that this would go a long way in reforming the PSVs sector and boost Kenyans confidence by reducing the number of accidents prevalent on Kenyan roads.

"A matatu academy is what I am proposing. I am also aware that there have been numerous complaints about a poor relationship between your drivers and conductors on one hand and the traffic police on the other hand," he said.

He further emphasised the need for Public Service Vehicles to treat their passengers with courtesy.

"The young ones are coming up now and they will require some special attention from the association so that your vehicles become user friendly to people who might not otherwise want to hear a lot of noise," he stated.

He pointed out that the matatu industry was the single largest contributor in the insurance, oil and all local authorities countrywide.

He said that as such, the industry success was pegged on the kind of associates it keeps and emphasised the need to build an image of esteem and trust commensurate with the revenues it commands.

He stated the need to forge a closer relationship between the matatu industry and other companies in order to establish a strong foundation.

He stressed the need for more effort to be put in harnessing the great potential within the matatu industry.

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