Kenya: Compel Matatus to Remove Extra Seats, Nakuru Sacco Urges State

Matatus on Mama Ngina Street within Nairobi's Central Business District (file photo).

A matatu sacco based in Nakuru has suggested that the government compels owners of public service vehicles to remove some seats in order to force them to comply with the social distancing measures put in place to contain the spread of Covd-19.

Molo Line Services Vice-Chairman Kibra Muchai said this measure, if implemented, will force PSV operators to carry only the required number of passengers in their vehicles.

Mr Muchai said matatu operators have been flouting the stringent Covid-19 regulations set by the Ministry of health, putting the lives of Kenyans at the risk of contracting the virus.

"The government decided to close schools, churches, bars and other gathering centres but it did not impose strict measures on the matatu industry where the operators are carrying more than the required number of passengers," said Mr Kibira.

He gave an example of the Molo-Nakuru road where he said matatus carry more passengers than the required number.

No sanitisers

He said chances of contracting the deadly virus is high as many of the operators are not following the measures put in place by the government.

"When the directives were first put in place, every 14-seater Matatu had a sanitiser where the conductors sanitised each passenger before boarding the vehicles. Few vehicles currently have hand sanitisers as many of them continue flouting the rules," added Mr Kibira.

Mr Kibira urged Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya and Interior CS Fred Matiang'i to make impromptu inspection visits especially in areas where there are no police roadblocks to see the reality on the ground.

Spot-checks by the Nation in Elburgon and Molo showed that some operators have gone back to filling their matatus like they did before the social distancing regulations were put in place.

Some of them do not have hand sanitisers and do not demand that commuters wear face masks.

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