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Matatu operators criticize new regulatory measures

Matatu owners are unhappy with the government’s efforts in regulating their industry. Through their chairman Dickson Mbugua, matatu owners on Thursday criticized the Ministry of Transport and the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) for regulating the matatu industry without consulting them.

Mr Mbugua singled out the cashless system, the suspension of eleven brands of digital speed limiters, and the barring of new low capacity matatus from the market starting January 2016 as some of the contentious issues the matatu association went addressed.

He also also claimed that innocent members of matatu sacco are often victimized when their vehicles are involved accidents.

“Why can’t we do this law enforcement in an orderly manner?” quipped Mr Mbugua at a meeting with matatu owners in a Nairobi hotel.

TRAFFIC OFFENSES

He termed as suspect the “sneaking” in of legal notice number 179 on December 31, 2014 that will, starting January 2016, bar NTSA from licensing public service vehicles whose carrying capacity is less than twenty five passengers.

His sentiments were shared by Basil Nyaga, the association’s secretary general.

“We’ve been pushed to the wall by various government agencies,” said Mr Nyaga, alluding to the introduction of the new laws without consultation with matatu operators.

To tame runaway traffic offenses, the government through various agencies has intensified efforts to streamline the public service vehicle industry.

Last week the government banned the use of eleven brands of popular speed limiters saying that they do not meet the required standards, a move that has been opposed by matatu owners.

Mr Mbugua, however, criticised the suspension of the speed govenors, saying that the move had targeted some of the best performing devices.

On the other hand he commended a recent move by NTSA barring traffic police officers from boarding vehicles of traffic offenders but emphasized the need for enforcement of the same.

The matatu owners gave the government a seven-day notice to act on their grievances failure to which they will consider going to court or withdrawing their vehicles from the roads.