, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 17 – The Ministry of Transport and the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) on Tuesday announced the night travel ban imposed on long distance Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) will be lifted in February.
Transport Principal Secretary Paul Mwangi said the ban which was imposed in December following a spate of fatal accidents on the country’s highways will be lifted selectively depending on compliance and safety approvals from the respective SACCOs.
The PSV night travel will be selectively lifted after mid-February after receipt of a report from a section of the matatu owners who have been co-opted into a joint ministerial implementation committee between the Ministries of Interior and that of Transport.
“The ban will first be lifted for the operators who have a good safety and compliance record and the rest will follow once we are satisfied that the PSV operator has a proven safety record. Those who have been found to cause road accident will not be allowed to travel at night,” Mwangi told the National Assembly Transport Committee.
The PS added that operators will have to ensure they have a functioning real-time fleet management system, enforced by supervisors deployed along the routes.
NTSA Director General Francis Meja added that all PSVs will be required to introduce driver log sheets for all long distance PSV operators which shall be counter signed by the company’s supervisor at various stops and police officers on roadblocks will similarly be required to fill it.
The National Road Safety Association and a section of long distance PSV operators say implementation of the ban was a rash decision that will have a lasting negative effect on the economy.
The parliamentary committee led by Pokot South MP David Pkosing further grilled the NTSA, Traffic Police Department Commandant, Ministry of Roads and Transport officials over road carnage.
“NTSA, traffic police and the two PSs you should tell us why people are dying on our roads and why hasn’t anyone resigned yet even from among yourselves, somebody should have taken responsibility and gone home when people die like that.”
“But I see you are still here, so maybe God has called you to save more lives, so that will be your only designation today,” said the Committee Chairman.
Traffic Commandant Jacinta Kinyua was hard pressed to explain measures she has put in place to address the rising cases of road carnage on the Nakuru-Salgaa- Eldoret stretch which recorded 50 accidents between November and December alone.
Kinyua told the MPs that 48 of these accidents recorded fatalities.
She said an analysis by her department revealed that the accidents which usually occur between 7pm and 11pm was largely attributed to human error, driver fatigue and reckless or dangerous driving.
The Traffic Commandant said her officers were ready to enforce a mandatory 30 minute and 1 hour stopover for all PSV drivers.
She also called for drugs tests of all PSV operators before they embark on journey as an intervention to curb road carnage.
The MPs claimed there were operational overlaps, conflicts of interest and bribery as the main reason behind the NTSA and the Traffic Police failing to enforce traffic laws in the country
MPs Shadrack Mose (Kitutu Masaba) Samuel Arama (Nakuru Town West), Murwithania Mugambi (Buuri), Rehema Dida (Isiolo Woman Rep) and Bashane Gaal (Wajir West) backed up public transport companies who have lamented that the night travel ban was ill-thought and is hurting the economy.
The public service transport stakeholders have been calling for the revocation of the ban and instead redirect energies to enforcement of traffic rules.