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Hiked fares as new transport rules take effect

Morning commuters in Nairobi had to contend with hiked fares on Tuesday morning as matatus kept off roads to avoid being arrested for not complying with the new transport regulations.

A few matatus operated in the dawn hours and charged double the normal fares before closing operations. Others proceeded to operate normally, albeit with hiked fares.

Fare from Donholm to town rose to Sh100, while commuters in Roysambu parted with Sh200 to reach the city centre.

There was no major crackdown by the police in Nairobi to arrest matatus that had not complied with the new regulations.

The new regulations came into force Tuesday morning, which require among other things that matatus be fixed with digital speed governors.

Embassava and Umoinner matatus packed in Donholm on April 1, 2014. PHOTO | ALEX WAKHUNGU
Embassava and Umoinner matatus packed in Donholm on April 1, 2014. PHOTO | ALEX WAKHUNGU

Matatu owners have decried the high cost of the gadget, which is retailing at between Sh35,000 and Sh45,000.

According to the Director of Motor Vehicle Inspection, Mr Gerald Wangai only 6,653 vehicles had been inspected as of Saturday last week countrywide against a target of more than 100,000.

He also revealed that about 21,000 units of digital speed governors had been imported by the 16 suppliers cleared by the Kenya Bureau of Standards.

“Compliance was very low at first as some people thought the idea will not work, but a few days ago we have had a lot of vehicles to inspect,” he said and lamented that the matatu operators rushed to fix the gadget at the last minute.

Mr Wangai said the workshop was inspecting as many as 200 vehicles per day, but aimed to clear 500 on Monday.

Long queues of matatus, commercial vehicles and lorries stretched on Likoni, Enterprise and Lunga Lunga roads on Monday as they waited to be fitted with the gadgets at the inspectorate’s Industrial Area workshop.