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Matatu owners agree to give up parking slots

Matatu owners in Nairobi have agreed to reduce the number of buses in contested passenger spots to reduce congestion.

They have also offered to surrender their letters of parking allocation to the county administration so that bus stops can be re-planned, following Governor Evans Kidero’s statement last week that rogue City Hall officials illegally allocated parking areas at non-designated spots.

The two are among a number of issues agreed upon when the representatives of the Matatu Welfare Association (MWA) met Nairobi Deputy Governor Jonathan Mueke on Friday following a row sparked by the county government’s decision to cancel a number of parking licences.

“They agreed that possibly they need a few vehicles, a maximum of three (at bus stops the county wants abolished). The others can be parked elsewhere. The other thing is that of touting. It was agreed that it should slow down,” MWA’s chairman Dickson Mbugua told the media on Saturday.

A section of Nairobi traders had threatened to stop paying county taxes because the parking arrangement of matatus blocked their businesses.

PARKING LICENCES

The county thus cancelled all parking licences on Ronald Ngala Street, Luthuli Avenue, Tom Mboya Street, Mfangano Street and Latema Road, which stirred a crisis that necessitated Friday’s meeting.

Mr Mbugua said the agreements with the deputy governor are, however, yet to be formally adopted as there is a pending meeting with Cabinet secretaries to address congestion in the city.

“The meeting scheduled for Tuesday is of utmost necessity,” he said. “We want to have this in a more formalised way so that at least every organ of the national government and the county government is aware of what has been agreed on and put in black and white.”

The association’s vice-chair John Katimbwa said discussions with the Cabinet were a sure way forward because of the importance of Nairobi to the economy.

“Improving transport in the capital city is going to improve our economy. Bear in mind this is a business hub for Africa. So, we can’t afford to slow down on the movement of the people,” Mr Katimbwa told journalists.

During the press briefing, it also emerged that the Transport ministry prevailed upon the association to call off a strike it had planned for Thursday to register its anger against the county’s decision.