Toyota Probox owners who formally used to make a living as PSV operators have given mixed reactions following the government’s order outlawing the vehicles from the public transport business.
Some drivers say the government should have first made consultations with them before coming up with the directive which came into effect in 2015.
The say the decision to remove the drivers from the roads have led to huge losses for them and ruined their means of earning a livelihood.
They argue that majority of the vehicles are currently grounded at home as their owners have nothing else to do with them even after investing heavily when buying the low cost cars.
“My car is currently of no benefit to me now unless I use it for my personal errands. I have also changed jobs because I want to cater for my family’s needs,” said Nicholas Musembi Kitonga a bodaboda owner form Kathiani Sub County who used to ply the Machakos-Kathiani route.
However, for another probox owner who requested anonymity the decision to bar the vehicles from operating as PSV transporters was timely and in order.
He says he fully supports the new regulations by National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) as the move has helped in streamlining the transport sector.
He says he has already complied with the requirements and is currently working as a taxi driver.
Rachael Munyiva, a passenger from Machakos however says they have been affected by the ban as the probox vehicles were faster and more convenient as compared to matatus.
She agrues that probox vehicles used to get filled up faster as they carried fewer passengers compared to 14 -seater matatus.
“The ban on probox vehicles from operating as Public Service Vehicles was ill –advised and untimely .The decision has negatively affected transport here as most of us used to depend on them for our daily commuting,” she laments.
But on his part, Machakos sub county police commander Joseph Tenai says the government is only keen on ensuring there is order in the public transport sector.
Tenai noted that the new requirement by NTSA for probox vehicle owners to apply for license as taxi and not PSV wa there to stay.
He said majority of the drivers have defied the new rule and are currently playing hide and seek with law enforcers as they continue doing their illegal businesses.
“Probox vehicles have been granted the right to operate as taxis but not as Public Service Vehicles .Our officers will continue undertaking serious crackdowns on those found flouting these rules until we eventually weed out the illegal vehicles from our roads,” he said.
Currently probox and Toyota Sienta cars are barred from offering public transport services under the Traffic Act and have been cited for overloading, carrying as many as 14 passengers for a 5-seater car.
By Samuel Maina.