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Public Service Vehicles at a busy bus terminus in down town Nairobi. Photo/CFM-FILE.

Capital Health

PSVs hike fares in keeping social distancing to defeat corona

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 23 – Kenyans using Public Service Vehicles will have to dig deeper into their pockets, after matatus hiked fares to cushion themselves from losses after a directive to carry fewer passengers.

A spotcheck by Capital News beat revealed that most routes countrywide were implementing the social distancing directive, in the wake of coronavirus, but had doubled fares.

Matatus were charging as high as 50 percent of normal fares in Nairobi, Machakos, Kisumu, Nyeri, Mombasa among others.

On the Machakos-Nairobi route Matatu operators were charging Sh500, up from Sh250.
Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua has threatened to revoke licences for matatu saccos which were overcharging passengers.

Tough measures were announced by the government last week, to prevent the spread of coronavirus which had infected 15 people in the country by Sunday.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said 14-seater matatus are required to to carry a maximum of 8 passengers while mini-buses should have a 60 percent occupancy.

Those plying the Ruaka-Nairobi route were charging Sh100, an increase from Sh50- for the early risers.

“I left home at 5.40a.m. and I was shocked that they have increased to Sh100. On a normal day, it ranges between Sh30 and Sh50,” a passenger said.

Those interviewed urged the government to take action, or cushion them against the high fares, which they are not sustainable in the prevailing economic situation in the country.

“They want to profiteer yet we’re not even guaranteed of customers ourselves at our respective working places,” she added.

It was the same story for Matatu’s plying along Thika road.

Police were deployed along the highways to enforce the directive and were seen ejecting the excess passengers.

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