Nairobi and neighbouring counties will lose their power over public transport vehicles under a proposed law to manage the sector in the city’s metropolitan area.
The proposal is contained in the Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority Bill, which went through the First Reading in the National Assembly on Wednesday.
The plan is to decongest the capital city but some proposals are likely to encounter resistance by the county governments in a sector that has been a regulatory headache for decades.
Allocation of terminuses and licensing of public service vehicle drivers will be taken over by the Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (Namata).
The body was created in February through an executive order by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) currently licenses drivers, with the police handling the testing.
The county governments of Nairobi, Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos and Murang’a allocate terminuses. But although this and self-regulation is supposed to work, Nairobi has struggled to keep the matatus in check.
This failure is manifested in gridlocks on streets in downtown Nairobi. Almost all the lanes and spaces on some streets are taken up by matatus.
Some, such as Tom Mboya Street, Ronald Ngala Street, Accra Road, Hakati Road and Moi Avenue are perpetually clogged.
The proposed law will require that all those operating wholly or partly within the metro be issued with a certificate of operation by the authority.
“The authority shall issue a certificate of operation to an operator to carry on any public service vehicles operation within the metro and the certificate of operation shall be valid for a period of five years,” reads the bill.
The PSV certificate of operation for the metro will be issued to applicants who satisfy requirements, including good repute, sound financial standing and professional competency.
The authority will also regulate both on street and off-street parking on declared corridors and impose fees and penalties, which will certainly deny the counties one of their major revenue sources.
PSV drivers within the metro will, in addition to acquiring the national public service vehicles driver’s licence, undergo additional training and examination and, upon completion, be awarded the driver’s certificate of professional competence as specified by the authority.
“The driver’s certificate of professional competence shall be valid for a period not exceeding five years and is awarded to persons of good health as prescribed by the regulations,” reads the bill.
Namata will also be responsible for the design and specification of all public transport routes and services within the metro.