NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 7 -The government has announced plans to push for a cashless payment system in the public transport sector as part of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) was working on an effective system that will also help boost security of passengers.
It will also enable the government to access travel manifest that makes it easy to trace passengers who used public transport.
“As a government, we shall continue to encourage you to comply with the various government guidelines issued from time to time through the MoH that have proved effective in controlling the spread of the virus,” said Macharia during the launch of the Nationwide Public Service Operators Covid 19 Vaccination Awareness campaign.
He was at the launch with his Health ministry counterpart Mutahi Kagwe who called on more Kenyans to turn up for the covid jab, including Public Service Vehicle (PSV) operators.
Kagwe said that the vaccination drive will enhance safety measures to the more than 90pc of Kenyans who rely on the public transport means.
“We want to see all operators participating in this mass vaccination. Losing one of you is a big loss to the country; you are our front line workers as well for without you even our own would not get to work,” he said.
Matatu Owners Association (MoA) Chairman Simon Kimutai noted the challenges faced by the industry including reduced earnings, job losses and increased operational costs incurred by public transport operators’ as they provide personal protective equipment (PPE’s) to commuters and their employers.
He particularly cited the high parking fees charged by the county governments.
“Spaces provided by the county government are so small and does not commensurate with what they collect from us. How can I pay close to Sh10,000 for a space that does not exist?” Kimutai asked, “We need to buy the space and not charge per vehicle, since they are on the move. Unfortunately they are taking advantage by making us pay per passenger, so this must be revised.”
He further called upon the Ministry of Health to consider revising the curfew hours especially for those in SME’s and who find themselves caught up with curfew regulations while in transit.
“The government should seriously look into this as it is affecting those in business and always on transit to deliver their goods,” said Kimutai.
In the meantime, he expressed support towards the vaccinations of PSV operators stating that it will enable the transport sector to play its facilitative role in the improvement of the livelihood of Kenyans, the economical revival, and the development of the country under the harsh economic environment brought about by Covid 19 pandemic.