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TukTuks registration drive aims to restore sanity

The government, in partnership with TukTuk transport operators in Mombasa, has initiated a registration drive for TukTuk owners and drivers in a move to streamline the sector.

Mombasa County Commissioner Abdirisak Jaldesa said the move is meant to weed out criminals following complaints by passengers about getting mugged by robbers disguised as TukTuk drivers.

Three-wheeled motor vehicles are a popular mode of transport in Mombasa, and previous attempts by the County Government to regulate the sector through a 2018 by-law came up short after resistance from the operators.

Speaking at a stakeholder’s forum that brought together government officials, drivers, and owners of TukTuks, the County Commissioner said they have agreed with TukTuk players on a one-month period for them to be registered at the stage, Sub-County, and County levels.

“The aim of registering them is because criminals are masquerading as TukTuk operators. TukTuks are almost 17,000; it’s a huge number,” said Jaldesa.

He added that failure to regularise the sector will be a time bomb, and “criminals may infiltrate the sector; we have had complaints from the public.”

The CC further advised TukTuk owners to use the NTSA self-service application to verify the personal details of the drivers they employ.

“All stakeholders have come on board in order to streamline Tuk Tuk operations to help the public, promote peace, and also improve the transport sector in our county. It’s a big sector that we cannot ignore; there’s a need to streamline it,” said the CC.

The multi-sectoral meetings, the County Commissioner said, will be cascaded in all six Sub-Counties up to the stage level to pass the registration drive information to all operators.

Tuktuk operators will also be sensitised to acquire driving licences, as it emerges that most of them lack valid licences.

“There are those who have driving licences for motor vehicles, not for TukTuk; NTSA will intervene. Those with valid licences will be registered, and those who don’t will be trained and issued licences,” he said.

Chairman of the Mombasa Tuk Tuk Operators Organisation, Benjamin Ochwango, said working closely with the government and the registration will bring sanity to the sector.

“Those who refuse will be harbouring a hidden agenda. The exercise will improve the safety of the driver and passengers. We will be able to weed out criminals who are destroying the sector,” he said.

Warui Ndirangu, a pioneer TukTuk owner, decried that the sector is no longer a profitable venture because of the challenges on the road, theft, and vandalism of TukTuks.

To address the challenges, Ndirangu said owners and drivers must be known for the sector to thrive and for the government to get information. He urged fellow owners to embrace the registration initiative.

Tsuma Salim, a TukTuk driver, said the sector has been tainted by criminals who are untrained and added that it is high time for them to ship out and look for other jobs to do.

By Sadik Hassan

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