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PSV operators reduce matatu fares

Commuters will finally benefit from fuel prices reduction after Public Service Vehicle (PSV) operators, in a rare move, lowered matatu fares.

Since August last year, the cost of fuel has been on a free fall in the country as a result of the falling prices of crude oil.

PSV operators have, however, remained adamant that they would not pass on the benefit to commuters saying other costs of operations had not yet come down.

But the Matatu Owners Association (MOA) on Tuesday directed Saccos to slash off their fares.

On Valentine’s Day, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) reduced the price of Super petrol by Sh8.17, diesel by Sh7.83 and kerosene by Sh13.19

Diesel, which is commonly used by PSVs is currently retailing at Sh75.52 in Nairobi from a whopping Sh104.67 last July.

FUEL PRICES

While announcing the reduction in fare, MOA Chairman Simon Kimutai said they have been motivated by the continuous downward trend of the price of fuel as compared to the past when it kept fluctuating, which made it impossible to adjust the fares.

“It is only prudent for any type of business to be sensitive to customer demands and due to the continuous drop in fuel prices we are now obliged to pass the benefits to our customers,” he said.

“We did not do it immediately because in the past the prices of fuel kept fluctuating but we have studied the current trends and we don’t see big rise in the prices of fuel any time soon.”

Mr Kimutai acknowledged that some upcountry routes have already adjusted their fares downwards since the year started by between 10 to 25 per cent and said it is only natural that operators in Nairobi to follow suit.

The association said fares from Nairobi to Kisumu have reduced from Sh1,200 to Sh1,000, Mombasa from Sh1,500 to Sh1,100, Nakuru from Sh400 to Sh300.

REDUCED FARES

Fares from Nairobi to Busia have also reduced from Sh1500 to Sh1100, Meru from Sh600 to Sh500, Nyahururu from Sh450 to Sh350 and Nyeri from Sh300 to Sh200.

“Each Sacco in Nairobi should thus take responsibility and pass this benefit to the consumers and those that do not comply will be pushed out of business by those who already have,” said Kimutai.

The MOA chairman also urged the residents of Nairobi to use public means or pool cars in order to decongest the city.

Mr Kimutai also urged employers to consider staggering work hours so that peak and off peak hours can be removed from the city’s transport system as it was forcing PSV operators to overcharge commuters during some hours.

“Provided an employee clocks in the required work hours I do not see a reason why the whole country should work at specific hours as it is clogging our roads,” he said.

PSV operators have been under pressure from the government and consumer lobby groups since last year to reduce their fare prices in order to correspond with the falling prices of fuel.