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City commuters pay more for extra security

Nairobi commuters will have to pay extra to enjoy enhanced security while using matatus, operators have said.

The cost of buying metal detectors was a burden they were not prepared to shoulder and screening each passenger was not only a tedious process, but time consuming, they said.

As a result some Saccos have increased fares by up to 20 per cent to compensate for what they would have earned during the time spent screening passengers.

Mr Stephen Kamau of Kimao Sacco said they had been forced to increase the cost due to the Government’s continued insistence that the responsibility of ensuring commuter safety was their own.

He spoke even as Transport Principal secretary Mr Nduva Muli banned picking of passengers from non designated bus stops.

“Saccos found doing this shall have their licences revoked,” he warned.

“The cost of doing business has gone up and as any other business persons, we cannot shoulder it and not being allowed to pick people along the way, our vehicles must be full before leaving the termini,” Mr Kamau said.

Peak hours

Nairobians however said the stance by the Government did not warrant the operators to increase fares.

“Every time a new regulation comes up, fares increase. When fuel goes up, the fare goes up too and it never comes down. These matatu men make more than what a metal detector costs,” said Ms Maureen Kalekye from Roysambu where fares on route 44 had gone up to Sh80 from Sh70 during peak hours.

“It is time the county government implemented the plan to have its own fleet of buses.

Matatu crews only behave like this because the industry is unregulated. It’s only the commuter who suffers,” said Mr Philip Oparanya from Buruburu.

Fares on the route had shot up to Sh70, up from Sh60 during peak hours.

The Government stance is even as the Director of Public Prosecution Keriako Tobiko withdrew five cases against five matatu operators for offences relating the Thika Road twin blasts last week.

Lawyer Ndungu Wainaina argued that it was illegal to force them to screen passengers.

“There is no law in place to force matatus to screen their passengers,” he said.

He added: “Instead, the Government should first come up with a law to effectively fight terrorism and insecurity.”