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Matatu owners now want government to set up dedicated training school

Matatu operators now want the government to set up a training institution targeting the public transport sector by exclusively being dedicated to training drivers and conductors.

Matatu Owners Association (MOA) chairman Simon Kimutai said that setting up a training school with a dedicated curriculum like the ones for aviation, rail and marine sectors will ensure that drivers and conductors are taken through proper training that will in turn improve road safety in the country.

Mr Kimutai decried how many Kenyans are losing their lives and suffering injuries on the roads, pointing out that the training will provide better skills than what is currently being offered in most driving schools across the country.

He said that the driver training schools in the country only provide general skills as opposed to specific training like on emergency response and customer care.

HALF-BAKED DRIVERS

“The training will focus on most of the ills that are in the sector. Most of the driving schools produce half-baked drivers. If you have a four year license you should not automatically receive a PSV license but you need to be trained to handle a PSV,” said Mr Kimutai.

He was speaking on Thursday during MOA National Governing Council meeting with county representatives at Luke Hotel in Nairobi to address issues affecting public transport operators in the country.

The MOA boss said that the public transport sector has been neglected for long, although it is an important sector that facilitates movement in the country and a key cog in the economic wheel of the country.

“Even if people have to pay let the training be there so that National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) stops issuing license on the age of the license but on the strength of the person being trained, tested and classified,” he said.

DRIVING SCHOOLS

On Wednesday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said that NTSA will  provide a new curriculum for driving schools which shall be offered even in the 35 TVET institutions that have been assessed and passed the test of being training centres for drivers.

At the same time, Mr Kimutai called on NTSA to restore order in the sector by only approving new licenses for saccos on a need basis, saying that the sector is saturated as there is over investment especially in Nairobi.

“NTSA needs to study and see whether there is a demand for the service for them to issue more licenses to organisations who apply rather than giving out the licenses haphazardly,” he said.

He pointed out that MOA has invited Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) officers to educate its members on issues of extortion and bribery between drivers, conductors and traffic police officers that is rife in the sector and has continued as if it has been institutionalized.