The Government is collaborating with Matatu Owners Association (MOA) and other stakeholders in embracing strategies that will enhance operational efficiency and safety for both road users and the operators.
Speaking on Government Communication partnership with MOA, Government Spokesperson, Col (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna, acknowledged the critical role played by the matatu sector as an employer and as a contributor to the national economy.
“The sector does not only facilitate movement of people, goods and services but has acted as a source of employment to many livelihoods,” he noted.
While speaking during Matatu Owners Association National Delegates’ Council meeting, Col (Rtd) Oguna, called the stakeholders to ensure matatus adhere to highway rules and as well as Covid-19 protocols.
“We need Kenyans to travel in a safe environment and this can be achieved if we all respect the set guidelines. We can recover money lost but we cannot recover a life lost,” he said.
With the low uptake of Covid-19 vaccines, the Government in partnership with the Federation of Public Transport sector launched a nationwide public service operators Covid-19 vaccination awareness campaign.
The objective was to increase the uptake of vaccines among crews, matatu owners and other support staff. Oguna said the government will continue working with the sector in ensuring a lot of sensitization on the importance of vaccine uptake is attained.
“Matatus have helped run various campaigns including one on Covid-19 through car stickers and graffiti that carry various messages. This has provided information that empowers our people and gives them the ability to make informed decisions,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion, Transport Principal Secretary (PS), Eng Joseph Njoroge, called on the sector’s leadership to device strategies that would improve the operational environment for their SACCOs.
“Through self-regulation, the industry will be more attractive therefore attracting more investors. I urge you to embrace the use of ICT like adapting to the use of cashless and e-payment systems,” he noted.
The e- payment would help in the reduction of revenue leakages and would ensure seamless integration with other existing fare payment systems and would enable commuters to use one card for payments across all PSVs, SGR, Commuter Rail and Air transport, said Eng Njoroge.
To protect the environment, the PS further called on the leadership to embrace new emerging technologies like investing in electric mobility which would help in reducing Green Gas Emissions.
Addressing some of the key challenges faced by Matatu Owners the Associations, Chairperson Mr Simon Kimutai noted with concern increased number of police bribery, which he noted has killed compliance among Matatu Owners.
“Bribing on the roads has killed compliance from matatu owners for they feel with or without compliance they must pay,” he noted.
Also present was the Deputy Officer Commanding Traffic, Nairobi Area, Mary Kiarie, who blamed the Public Service Vehicles’ crews for giving out bribes willingly.
“It’s very unfortunate and it’s our concern on bribery issues. However we need to train our drivers not to give out bribes, because they give willingly,” she said.
As the country enters festive season and with the rain season, Ms Kiarie called on matatu drivers to follow road rules and regulation to reduce the number of accidents caused by reckless driving, over speeding and overlapping.
The sector will continue collaborating with the Government to sensitize the public on the need to take covid 19 vaccines.
By Patricia Kombo