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Parking relief for Nairobi motorists

The High Court has extended orders stopping Nairobi City County government from increasing parking fees for private cars and public service vehicles (PSVs).

Justice Anthony Mrima said the order dated December 30, 2019 suspending county government’s decision to increase charges from Sh200 to Sh400 for private cars should remain in force until April 21, 2021.

Also suspended is the devolved unit’s decision to raise seasonal parking rates for matatus. Fees for 14-seater PSVs had been increased from Sh3,650 to Sh5,000, 32-seater (from Sh5,250 to Sh8,000), and 51-seater vehicles (buses) from 7,500 to Sh10,000.

Justice Mrima has said the suspension will remain in force until two petitions lodged by the Matatu Owners Association (MOA) and the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) are heard for directions.

The two lobby groups filed the cases following a notice issued by City Hall on December 2, 2019 announcing the fees’ increment. The increment was on the strength of the Finance Act, 2019.

Through lawyer Henry Kurauka, the groups argue that the increment of fees was unfair, unreasonable, exorbitant and lacked public participation in accordance with Article 10 of the Constitution.

In their petitions, they state that if the proposed changes were implemented, the rights of consumers would be greatly violated.

Mr Kurauka argued that the decision requiring PSVs to pay more to access the city centre would result in raised fares, which would hurt commuters’ travel plans and expenditure.

He said it would also hurt consumers seeking transport and parking services within the central business district.

“The Kenya economy has shrunk compelling the Central Bank of Kenya to cut its projected growth rate for this year. The timing of increasing parking fees is wrong and hurriedly implemented without proper and adequate notice to the public,” Cofek says in its court papers.

The lawyer added that most motor vehicle owners cannot afford to pay the increased parking charges because of harsh economic reality in Kenya.