Operators of matatus plying various routes from Chuka town yesterday went on strike over what they described as haphazard handling by the Tharaka Nithi County revenue collection attendants.
The operators of the matatus that belong to Mekina,Ungwana and Meru Nissan Saccos declined to pay the fees over failure by the revenue collection attendants at the Chuka Automated Matatu Terminus to respond to their plight even after presenting their complaints to the Director of Revenue collection in Tharaka Nithi.
“It’s only after the county government listens to the problems we have at hand and solve them that we will pay them,” Eric Mutembei a Matatu operator famously known as Kaptoo said.
The operators said that some vehicles were not paying for the automated card meant for revenue collection and go forth to pick passengers outside the matatu terminus at a cheaper fare hence disadvantaging the ones complying with the regulations.
They further claimed that some county enforcement officers were unscrupulous and took money from those picking passengers outside the terminus.
The automated cards also have issues with the attendants reverting to the previous manual way of paying through cash which resulted in congestion as the vehicle owners queue to pay.
In a quick rejoinder after meeting with the matatu operators, Tharaka Nithi County Director of Revenue Collection, Lawrence Kaburu said they will deploy more enforcement officers at the matatu terminus to ease the congestion.
Kaburu further directed that all matatus operate from within the matatu terminus warning vehicles found picking passengers outside the stage will be towed and only released after paying a huge fine.
“We have already sent more enforcement officers at the ground and others are expected to join tomorrow to ensure all places are covered and that no car picks passengers from outside the stage,” said Kaburu.
by Ian Mugambi/David Mutwiri