Kenya: Public Service Vehicles Bear the Brunt of High Fuel Costs

16 September 2022

Nairobi — Public service vehicles(PSVs) are feeling the pinch as they bear the cost of the rise in fuel prices in the country on behalf of their passengers.

The move they say is a measure they have been compelled to take even as some are still in talks with their managers and Saccos on the next course of action.

The sector is limited in terms of coping with the new fuel prices as it will either continue bearing the cost on behalf of its passengers or transfer it to them by increasing their transport charges.

Speaking to Capital FM, Francis Karanja, a taxi driver in Nairobi noted that he has been forced to bear the cost of the hike in fuel prices as his clients threaten to use alternative means once he quotes a higher price.

"I have been affected as the fare hasn't changed considering I will lack customers if I increase our rates. The customers themselves complain that their salaries haven't been increased. It is like I am doing nothing since the profit I used to get will now have to cater for fuel," said Karanja.

He however noted that he will be forced to increase the fare eventually but if things will remain thick, he will have to look for another source of income rather than incurring losses all the time.

Ali, another matatu driver urged passengers to get ready for a 20 per cent increase in fare from Monday if the situation will remain as it is.

"As the prices of fuel have gone up, for the driver to fuel their vehicles, the fare must go up. Fuel is everything; it is not our wish to hike the fare," said Ali.

Babu, a driver plying the Rongai route noted that either the vehicle owners or the passengers will have to bear the cost.

"If it will fall on passengers, we will increase fare by Sh20 during off-peak and instead of paying Sh70 during peak times, they will pay Sh100," said Babu.

"The hike in fuel prices has really affected me, I would wish to increase the fare so as not to incur losses but the wananchi are crying because they don't have that money, actually sometimes they want to bargain the price. Nowadays, we just incur losses but we have to struggle," said Patrick Mose, a boda boda rider in Nairobi.

Josephat Mwangi, a taxi driver in Nairobi is also experiencing hardships negotiating fare prices with his clients as none wants to pay an extra coin even after the Energy Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) announced an increase in fuel prices.

Mwangi, who used to charge Sh2000 to take his clients to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) tried to add Sh500 to cushion him but was forced to stick to the initial charges after he lacked clients.

Daniel Kazungu a matatu driver plying the Ngong Road route urged the government to intervene and reduce the fuel prices as the citizens are already suffering after the Covid-19 pandemic affected their sources of livelihood and their salaries haven't changed.

"Since the fuel prices went up, we will revise the fare upwards soon. But that is a decision our managers and head of Saccos will have to make since that mandate does not lie on my hands. Even though the salaries of many workers have not been increased, it will be like we will be overburdening them," said Kazungu, a matatu driver.

In the latest monthly review by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), the price of petrol is up by Sh20.18 to retail at Sh179.30 per litre in Nairobi.

A litre of diesel will retail at Sh165, a Sh25 increase, while kerosene, mostly consumed by low-income households has increased by Sh20 retailing at Sh147.94 per litre.

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