Matatu owners from the Central region have recorded a 70 per cent drop in earnings since Covid-19 pandemic struck the country, their Chairman, Micah Kariuki has said.
Through their umbrella the Mt. Kenya Matatu Owners Association, they said the drop was largely due to the government’s rules of reducing the number of passengers per vehicle by half. Again, they said an estimated 3,000 PSVs were grounded for more than three months due to the containment of the Nairobi Metropolitan area.
Speaking in Thika during the launch of a fumigation exercise for PSVs plying various routes, including Nairobi, Nyeri, Murang’a and other parts of the Mountain region on Monday, Kariuki said the reopening of the metropolis had slowly revived their business.
He however said they could hardly stay afloat as the little money they made goes to pay insurance premiums, loans and other financial commitments
Kariuki called on the government to waive the seasonal levies in order to keep them afloat adding that county governments should lower parking fees to reduce operation costs.
“We appreciate government efforts aimed at containing the deadly virus but we appeal for further interventions, including supply of hand sanitizers by the authorities since some of the ones in the market are substandard,” Kariuki said.
The free fumigation is being carried out by public health officials from the Kiambu County government in coordination with the matatu owners’ association.
Samuel Mureithi, the Deputy County Public Health Director told the matatu crews to strictly adhere to Ministry of Health protocols and avoid carrying excess passengers.
He also asked matatu saccos to acquire thermo-guns to screen passengers for body temperature as some of the measures to check spread of the virus.
By Muoki Charles