BY EDITORIAL TEAM,NAIROBI,26TH MARCH 2018-The recent move by the government to introduce cheap NYS buses in Nairobi city is a well thought off idea and highly commendable.We want to salute president Uhuru Kenyatta for the move that will go along way to help vulnerable commuters who have in the past found themselves victims of a rogue matatu lot who will not hesitate to exploit them at slightest opportunity.
The move is welcome especially considering the fact that local business environment is liberalized.For many years Nairobi residents have had to contend with high fares especially when it rains and it happen to be rush hour either People returning home after a long work day or it is in the morning and people are up and about hurrying to catch a matatu to work.
It has been a man eat man society.The moment it rains short distance places like Githurai or pipeline, one has to part with at least ksh 200 instead of ksh 50,this must be brought to an end.
We want to tell so called association of matatu operators in Nairobi who have opposed the move that if they are not comfortable,they can as well close shop and venture into other line of business they do not have to operate the matatu business .They claim to want a level playing field .which level playing field is there amidst exploitation?
Association of Matatu Operators in Nairobi Central Business District Chairman Jimal Ibrahim faulted the move, saying that the government cannot expect operators to charge the same or lower fares as the NYS buses yet they are being levied different charges to operate.
“They are trying to create a civil war between the government and the matatu industry. Somebody cannot just wake up and introduce buses as if there was nothing going on before.
“We do not want to react but we can act and we are planning to act if our grievances are not listened to,” said Mr Ibrahim on Sunday in Nairobi.
The government has introduced 27 buses by the National Youth Service (NYS) on Friday .They will charge a flat rate of Sh50, later dropped to Sh20, no matter the distance travelled to help alleviate the commuter crisis in Nairobi and cushion residents from the high fares charged by public commuter vehicles.
NYS Director-General Richard Ndubai said the buses would ply Nairobi routes including Kibera, Githurai, Mwiki, Mukuru kwa Njenga, Dandora, Kariobangi and Kawangware with more vehicles set to be introduced later.
Mr Ibrahim said the NYS buses are an unfair competition.
“We are not against any competition but we should have a level playing field in the industry. NYS buses is not fair competition to us.he was quoted to have said.We want to tell Mr Ibrahim that the country and especially Nairobi county residents would have been happy to hear him speak against the evil ,thuggery and a disturbing trend that is the norm of the matatu operating in and around Nairobi.
We urge the ministry of transport to continue with reforms in the sector and not to stop at anything until there is sanity!