, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 4 – The government has announced plans to introduce 50 more National Youth Service (NYS) buses on the capital city’s routes and subsidize fares further, despite continued opposition from matatu owners.
Public Service and Youth Cabinet Secretary Margaret Kobia told the Senate Roads Committee that once the buses join the current fleet of 24, the fare to designated areas may be pegged at Sh20 from the current Sh50.
“The National Treasury has agreed to procure several buses to help stabilise commuter fares, decongest the city traffic and restore discipline in the PSV sector.”
“We are concerned about the congestion of people at stages. We are charging Sh20 per commuter regardless of the distance because we need Nairobians to spend less on transport and to be left with some money to improve their quality of living,” she said while insisting that NYS re-entry into the PSV sector was triggered by an outcry from commuters who felt they were being exploited by private sector players.
Kobia said the government will next week begin earmarking service lanes to be used by the buses.
Matatu Vehicles Owners Association (MVOA) Chairman Simon Kimutai had petitioned the Senate claiming the move to introduce the NYS shuttles on some city routes was meant to undercut the private players in the industry and said they should stick to their core function.
Kimutai argued the government should be focused on providing a good environment for doing business instead of engaging in creating unfair competition.
He faulted Kobia for deploying the buses yet the MVOA and the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure had agreed on procuring 50 buses to address the congestion problem.
National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA) Director General Francis Meja said they granted NYS a three-month operating license adding its entry into the public sector system will bring discipline and ease congestion.