NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 13 – Normalcy has resumed in Nairobi’s public transportation a day after an acute Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) shortage caused a major crisis forcing most city residents to either trek long distances to work or pay hiked fares.
A spot-check by Capital FM News Tuesday morning revealed transport fares were up by 33 per cent on average. On Monday, fare hikes averaged 168 per cent.
Daniel Nyarige, a driver with Embassava SACCO told Capital FM News the shortage witnessed Monday was mainly because PSV operators were uncertain whether police officers enforcing traffic rules would be fair.
“We were uncertain on harassment by police but from our assessment, we later realised that the police did not actually harass operators who had complied,” he said as he queued along Accra Road waiting for his turn to pick passengers.
“Our SACCO has always complied. In fact, they’ve always been so tough on drivers having uniforms, budges, and all documentation including driving licenses,” Nyarige explained.
Passengers plying the Mombasa and Jogoo Road routes to the Eastern Bypass paid Sh100 to Nairobi’s Central Business District on Tuesday, up from the standard rate of Sh80, a 25 per cent hike.
On Monday passengers travelling on the same route paid Sh200, representing a 150 per cent increase.
Peter Ng’ang’a, a trader along Luthuli Avenue said the shortage of vehicles caused major delays on Monday forcing him to wait at a bus terminus for up to an hour.
Ng’ang’a who ordinarily pays Sh70 to Umoja had to part with Sh200 on Monday, 186 per cent higher than the standard rate.
He said fares were reduced to Sh100 on Monday morning which was still above the normal rate by 43 per cent.
“I paid Sh100 from Umoja which means I have to put aside a similar amount for my trip back home. Instead of spending Sh150 per day to and fro, I’ll be spending Sh200. My business will certainly be impacted for as long as these hikes continue,” Ng’ang’a said.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia had Monday issued a stern warning to PSV operators hiking fares saying their licenses risked being withdrawn.
“The shortage of PSVs should not be used as an excuse to increase fare. We’re aware of cases where fares have been hiked for up to three times the normal rates. That is not acceptable,” Macharia told the press when he toured the Nairobi Railway Station.
He said the government will continue to enforce traffic rules which include an 80kmh speed limit for PSVs and fastening of seat belts, noncompliance of which caused a drumbeat of road disasters including the death of over 56 passengers along the Londiani-Muhoroni road on October 10.
In response to Monday’s transport crisis, Macharia announced increased train frequencies for three commuter train corridors from 12 trains to 18.
Macharia said plans were underway to procure new locomotives to enhance the efficiency of the Nairobi Commuter Train Service.
“A few weeks ago, I sent the Transport Principal Secretary to Spain to see how we can work with some partners to give us more units in terms of running our train services,” he revealed.