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Matatus won’t slash fares, union insists

The Matatu Owners Association will not reduce fares following a drop in oil prices, Vice-Chairman Ali Bates has said.

Matatu Welfare Association national Chairman Dickson Mbugua shared the same sentiments.

He said it is not possible to reduce fares as fuel is about 30 per cent of other expenses matatu owners.

Others, he said, are costly spare parts and lubricants.

Mr Bates said the cost of spare parts and tyres must be reduced first. The official also called for the removal of touts who barricade stages.

He and the matatu owners’ Coast chairman, Mr Benson Mureithi, said these are key determinants for lower fares.

INTERVENTION UNFAIR

They termed the statement by Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau that public service vehicles should pass the benefit of low fuel prices to passengers or risk State intervention as unfair and unreasonable.

“Who will pay us when we stay for more than five hours in a traffic jam? Let the market determine itself. Mr Kamau should stop interfering. Passengers can negotiate with conductors but threats will not yield anything,” Mr Bates said on Tuesday.

He said matatus are being impounded in Mombasa due to illegal parking, yet the town does not have an official terminus.

Mr Bates said an estimated 2,900 matatus drivers are usually in conflict with county askaris and traffic officers over illegal parking in the central business district.

SUPPLY AND DEMAND

The officials said the matatu industry uses the law of supply and demand.

“In a day, traffic officers of the Dog Section Kisauni, Changamwe Police Station, Bamburi Police Station and Makupa Police Station impound 30 matatus for illegal parking or obstruction.

“The fine is not less than Sh10,000. How do we reduce charges yet the money is taken by to the courts as fines?” Asked Mr Bates.

He said county governments had inherited the touts’ problem from the National Government and urged Mr Kamau to deal with them once and for all.