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Commuters Stranded in Narok

Hundreds of commuters were stranded in Narok stages after matatus kept off the roads protesting enforcement of Michuki rules.

Two main stages in Narok town were flooded with people as matatus kept off the roads, citing harassment by traffic police who they accused of impounding their vehicles despite them being in good condition.

Toyota probox and Sienta vehicles that ply Narok town–Lolunga–Ewaso Nyiro–Mulot and Ntulele trading centres also kept off the roads in fear of being impounded.

“We have decided to keep off the roads because we are not sure of what mistake we will be accused of. Some of us have fully complied with the set rules but not sure if the police will not find any fault in our vehicles,” said Dominic Mwangi.

The situation left many commuters in dilemma with majority opting to walk while others were forced to suspend their journeys.

Mary Muthoni, a business woman in Narok town was forced to postpone her journey to Nairobi until a further date following lack of public transport.

“I had arrived at the bus stage at 5am to travel to Nairobi to purchase new stock for my shoe business but forced to postpone the journey as all the public vehicles were parked,” said Ms. Muthoni.

On October 25, the government issued a directive to all PSVs to comply with all traffic laws, popularly known as Michuki rules, by November 12.

The taxi operators took advantage of the rush and hiked fares, in some cases as high as double the normal charge, however, many commuters could not afford the charges.

In the proposed enforcement plan, cops will be tasked to impound matatus that lack seat belts, operational licences as well as ensuring that crew wear uniforms.

Interior Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang’i and his transport counterpart, James Macharia have remained steadfast that the rules must be enforced to the letter.

More than 2,600 Kenyans have so far lost their lives in road accidents since the start of the year.

The Michuki rules were first introduced by the late Transport Minister, John Michuki in 2003 and require all public transport vehicles to have speed governors, registered with a Sacco, bear a continuous yellow line and must be fitted with safety belts.

Drivers and conductors are also required to always wear uniforms and prominently display their badges with photos as prescribed by the law.

Among the punitive measures against violations of the rules include Sh1000 fine for one missing safety belt, Sh500 fine for failing to buckle up a safety belt and Sh10, 000 fine for causing obstruction.

The PSVs that pick and drop passengers at undesignated areas will be charged Sh1,000, failure to fit speed governors Sh10, 000, touting Sh5,000, unlicensed conductor or driver Sh5,000, failure to produce a driving license Sh1,000 and driving while using a mobile phone Sh2,000.

Motorcycle riders without protective gear will have to pay Sh1,000 in fines same as pillion passengers without protective gear.

Motorists who exceed the 80Kph speed limit will be fined Sh500 for exceeding the limit by between 1-5kph, Sh3, 000 for exceeding by 6-10kph, Sh6000 for exceeding by 11-15kph and Sh10,000 for exceeding by between 16-20kph.

By Ann Salaton

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