Kamau rules to leave matatu crews jobless
Many workers in the matatu industry will be left jobless when new transport rules take effect next week.
The industry has been providing work to thousands of informal workers and the Operation of PSV Regulations, 2013 will automatically lock them out of the business.
The regulations, commonly known as the Kamau rules — after Transport Cabinet Secretary Joseph Kamau — make it mandatory for all drivers and conductors to be employed on permanent terms.
This is an attempt to reduce road carnage as drivers have been rushing to make as many trips as possible since in most cases, their pay is pegged on the amount they bring in a day.
But on Tuesday the crews said they were a worried lot.
The formerly employed crews have been giving the vehicles to other crews in an arrangement they refer to as ‘squad.’
The new crew then works in the estates and pockets most of the money they get, only giving a portion to the contracted crew as a charge fee.
“Sometimes we usually allow those who have not been contracted by the owners to drive the vehicles as we rest,” said Joseph Kinyanjui, a driver.
“But now it seems that we will have to stop because the rules say that we will be accountable for the accidents that happen,” added Mr Kinyanjui.
Matatu Welfare Association chairman, Dickson Mbugua said the directive, though well-intentioned, was too tough.
“It will lock out several youths out of employment and are likely lead to an increase in the rate of crime in Nairobi,” Mr Mbugua said.
However, Traffic Commandant Samuel Kimaru maintained that the rules had the potential of ensuring that sanity is restored on county roads.
He said they would help in catching rogue drivers.
“This time, the owner will lose their PSV permit and the drivers will lose their driving licences.
Some of the squad crew have been escaping when they commit an offence, leaving the vehicles behind. But that will now stop,” said Mr Kimaru.
The new rules that prescribe among others, the employment terms of matatu crews were contained in a gazette notice published last month.
Under the new rules, no individual will own one public service vehicle. Only organisations with more than 25 vehicles will be given license to operate.
They also require that once registered, the vehicles will have to indicate vividly, the name of the company, and have a corporate colour for easy identification.
There also must be a central Operating office where passenger complaints will be addressed.