Kenya: Nairobi Matatus on the Spot for Unruly Driving

Members of the County Assembly (MCA) in Nairobi have tasked the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) to crack the whip on what they say is the unlawful allocation of bus stages within the CBD.

This as they also put on notice rogue matatu drivers with the habit of picking and dropping passengers at any given point, thus creating traffic gridlock.

This illegal practice is on the rise in the city centre, the MCAs noted, with matatus encroaching on spaces reserved for business owners and taxi drivers.

Central Ward MCA Daniel Ngegi said matatus affiliated to the Azuri, Surmount, Nazige, and Embakasi Saccos have displaced taxis along Tom Mboya street.

Five other Saccos including Compliant, Madiwa, Jesmat, Travelmatt, and MMOG have also been fingered for illegally operating at the Sheikh Karume Road junction and blocking access to the shops in the streets.

Meanwhile, Zuri and Genesis Saccos are said to have displaced Taxis from their loading zone.

Rongai Sacco matatus have also been accused of illegally using a stage at the frontage of Church House along Moi Avenue.

Ngegi further claimed the issuance of illegal stages has been turned into a cash cow by county officials raking in millions from the illicit practice.

"This unfortunate scenario is to blame for vehicular gridlock, insecurity, noise pollution, and the general poor state of the city centre," he noted.

In November last year, NMS froze any new allocation of picking/dropping bays for matatus in Nairobi following similar concerns.

A 2020 report by the National Transport and Safety Authority showed that only 272 matatu Saccos are registered to operate in Nairobi.

However, there are up to 420 unregistered Saccos plying their trade in the capital.

And in a related development, taxi operators and affected business operators have penned a complaint note to NMS over the matatu menace.

Kenya Taxi Cab Association, which operates along Odeon Cinema, Tom Mboya Street, Latema Junction, and Moi Avenue service lane, wrote to NMS, City Hall, and the assembly on March 13, 2020, and July 10, 2020 respectively.

In the letter, the Association's Organizing Secretary Job Nzioka said it had become normal for matatus to be allocated lay bays without consideration of other stakeholders, and any complaints raised with county officials are never acted upon.

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