PSVs hike fares as schools re-open

Tuesday, May 9th, 2023 18:33 | By
Kitengela PSVs
Passengers comprising of mainly students going back to school stranded at the Kitengela bus terminus as Matatus hike fares. PHOTO/ Christine Musa

Public service vehicles (PSVs) plying the Kitengela-Machakos route have hiked fares to Ksh400 from the ordinary Ksh200 even as schools re-open.

Tens of learners who were at the bus terminus as early as 7 am were stranded at the terminus up to noon owing to scarcity of vehicles.

Matatu operators had temporarily stopped operations fearing arrests by National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA) officers who had camped to few meters from the terminus in a crackdown to check their compliance.

Normal operations resumed at noon shortly after the NTSA officers who had erected a barrier along the Athi River-Namanga Road left.

Students and parents scrambled for vehicles in an attempt to race against time amid parents' outcry over hiked fares.

"It is so unfortunate that matatu operators are taking advantage of the back-to-school period by hiking fare. I had planned to escort my daughter up to school but I cannot afford the double fare. The charges are unfair and concerned stakeholders should strive to control fare charges at all times. We are struggling as parents due to tough economic times," Rose Morara, a parent lamented.

Some parents instead resorted to taking their children back home to wait until the fare charges normalize.

"I have two girls schooling in Machakos and I had just Ksh400 fare. Considering I could not even afford to give them any pocket money I cannot by any means afford to pay Ksh800 today. I am going back with them and wait maybe until Thursday. I will communicate with the school administration and inform them of my situation," Jane Njoki, a parent said.

Some parents who intended to accompany their children were also forced to cut short their trips in an effort to facilitate more learners to get secure a chance of travelling.

Unroadworthy PSVs

The presence of NTSA on the road for a few hours elicited mixed reactions. Some lauded the move while others condemned the move.

"NTSA's presence on the road today is significant to us as parents. We feel our children are safer and will travel with roadworthy vehicles. Although there are fewer vehicles and delays, better late than never," David Ndilai said.

On the other hand, some travellers said vehicles halting movement for some time for fear of non-compliance offences means they have not complied.

"The technical appearance of NTSA has not had any effect. The unroadworthy vehicles remained parked until the officials left," Thomas Nyamburuga, a resident said.

On the other hand, the matatu operators instead insisted they are compliant claiming that some NTSA officials are corrupt and demand bribes even when one had complied.

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