Fuel price increase drives Kiambu matatus to hike fares by 30pc
Commuters operating from Thika town in Kiambu county to various parts of Central Kenya will have to dig deeper after operators of passenger service vehilces in the region announced fare hikes owing to the increased fuel prices.
In a meeting held in Thika at the weekend, the Central Kenya Matatu Owners Association announced a 30 per cent increase in fare.
Subsequently, commuters using buses from Thika town to Nairobi will now pay between Sh 80 and Sh 100, from Sh50 previously.
The 14-seater matatus or other small public service vehicles will now charge Sh 30 more after the fare was increased from Sh 100 to Sh 130.
The announcement came a day after the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) announced an upward review of fuel prices for the period starting September 15 to October 14.
In the new order that has attracted mixed reactions from various stakeholders, the price of Super Petrol increased by Sh 20 to a record high Sh179.30 per litre while diesel increased by Sh 25 to Sh165.
Kerosene on the other hand increased by Sh 20 to Sh 147.94 in Nairobi, a development that is likely to affect other sectors and price for basic commodities.
Speaking after the meeting, the Matatu Owners Association led by chairman Micah Kariuki regretted the price hikes which they said we’re prompted by higher costs of operation and losses incurred.
“Yesterday alone we made huge losses that we don’t know when we will recover. We agree Kenyans are pressed but we can no longer operate at a loss. We have therefore unanimously agreed to increase the fare by a small margin of 30 percent,” said Kariuki.
With an additional increase in motor vehicle spare parts, the matatu operators insisted that operating without hiking the transport fees will collapse their businesses.
Kushan Muchiri and Nelson Mwangi who are Kenya Mpya and Super Metro representatives respectively urged passengers to bear with them as they cannot operate on losses.
They urged their fellow operators across the country to follow suit but avoid increasing fares by more than 30 percent to enable Kenyans to continue to easily go about their businesses.
Muchiri asked owners of private cars to consider commuting using public service vehicles, a move that he said would not only save them money but also help reduce traffic jams in major towns.
“We urge our fellow Matatu owners across the country to be reasonable by only increasing the fare by 30 percent. We also urge those using personal vehicles to leave them at home and allow us to give them quality services. This way, they will save money especially from fuel consumption during traffic snarl-ups,” stated Muchiri.
The matatu owners lauded the government’s move to remove the fuel subsidy insisting that the contrary would have depleted the country’s coffers.
They however urged the William Ruto-led administration to consider lowering fuel levies by a small margin to help in stabilising the shaky market that is grappling with international pressures and Ukraine-Russia war.