A number of Matatu Saccos operating within Murang’a County have adhered to directive by Health Ministry to ferry the stipulated maximum number of passengers at any given time.
A spot check by KNA, reveals that most of the 14 seater matatus which ply Murang’a – Nairobi route have reduced passengers to eight but hiked fare to more than 50 percent.
The Management of the Murang’a Shuttle Sacco, said the increase in charges was aimed at sealing the loss occasioned by the number of passengers reduced.
The Sacco Director, Martin Wairimu, noted that it would be very straining and uneconomical to carry less passengers, saying in most cases the vehicles will be operating at a loss.
Even with increased fare, the Director said that there will be still a registered loss as not there are few passengers traveling currently while the price of fuel remains high.
“We hope the situation will change for the better but for now we have to adhere to directives of the Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, to help containing spread of this killer disease,” added Wairimu.
Passengers interviewed expressed mixed reactions as majority decried increase in fare, saying they are also struggling to put food on the table for their families besides the travelling obligation.
Dennis Mwangi, a trader in Nairobi said he was forced to move to his rural home as his business could not proceed with many measures put by government to control spread of corvid -19.
“I sell second hand clothes in Nairobi but we are not allowed to operate and also no customers as many people have opted to remain in doors. It’s my prayer Kenya will soon be declared free of this deadly pandemic,” added Mwangi.
Elizabeth Nyawira, who was travelling from Nairobi to Kiria-ini on Sunday decried hiking of fares, saying government should support the matatu sector to ensure transport costs are not increased.
Nyawira, however, said the measures to reduce passengers are good as they will guarantee safety to those travelling.
Meanwhile, the County Government of Murang’a has started fumigation of all open air markets and matatu terminus.
Governor Mwangi wa Iria, on Sunday, commissioned the exercise to disinfect the public places, saying the move will help contain spread of coronavirus, particularly at market places.
He at the same time called on members of the public to adhere to all the safety directives from both the National and the County governments that include observing high standards of hygiene and avoid unnecessary movement which may perpetuate the virus.
“All markets within the County will be fumigated. The County Government has partnered with Kakuzi Company Limited, to ensure the exercise is properly implemented,” said Wa Iria.
By Bernard Munyao