Transport Ministry okays  Matatus to carry full capacity as from Monday

Transport Ministry okays Matatus to carry full capacity as from Monday

BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,6TH AUG,2021-Matatus have been allowed to carry full capacity from Monday next week.

The Ministry of Transport said although Covid-19 cases are rising, there was a need to stop business loss in the transport sector.

One ministry official said Matatus had stopped observing the 60 per cent rule, and the police were only using the rule to collect bribes.

“We will allow full capacity from Monday next week and any Sacco which will be found violating the protocol will have its license revoked,” Transport CAS Chris Obure said Friday afternoon after meeting matatu operators.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe introduced the 60 per cent rule on March 20 last year when there were only seven Covid-19 cases in the country.

By Friday, Kenya had registered 208,262 Covid-19 cases and 4,057 people dead.

Obure said President Uhuru had on March 12 this year directed that the old protocols that hurt the economy be reviewed.

However, the revision was not possible because infections remained consistently high.

He said they have agreed that Matatu operators will begin to strictly enforce other protocols, such as ensuring passengers wear masks properly.

All passengers must be screened for fever before they board and anyone coughing or with a temperature above 37.5 degrees will not be allowed on board.

Vehicles must also have windows open throughout the journey to allow proper air circulation.

Preaching and hawking in matatus has also been banned.

“The PSV saccos and companies should also encourage cashless payment system that will support contact tracing to enable medical officials to track passengers in the event Covid-19 case is established,” Obure said.

In the 60 per cent order, 14-seater matatus carried a maximum of eight passengers, while 25  seater buses had a maximum capacity of 15 passengers.

Chairman of the Association of Bus Operators Edwin Mukabanah said they have lost Sh30 billion since the measures were introduced.

“We ask matatu operators to now reduce fare, but we must also consider the high price of fuel,” he said.

Local air transport and SGR were not affected by reduction of passengers order.

Local air travel resumed on July 15 last year and international flights on August 1, 2020.

Rail transport resumed July 20 while public service vehicles on July 21, 2020.

At the airports, cleaning and disinfection of terminals were intensified.

All passengers had their temperature checked before entry to the airport.

Where a passenger’s body temperature was found to be 37.5°C or higher, checks were to be repeated at least once for confirmation purposes.

Any passenger with elevated body temperature was to be referred to secondary assessment by Port Health services present for Covid-19 testing and will not be allowed to travel.

Foods and drinks during travelling had been reduced.

Travellers were also expected to provide their details to the relevant public health authorities upon request for contact tracing purposes.

All passengers in the SGR were required to wear appropriate face masks while entering the station and maintain them during the entire journey.


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