Economy

Embassava buses back on the road after ban

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Embassava buses had been banned from operating from last week. PHOTO | FILE

The transport agency has lifted the ban on 296 buses belonging to Embassava Sacco, averting a citywide strike called by the matatu lobby group on Wednesday.

National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) and the sacco’s officials reached a deal after a day-long meeting, with only 200 drivers given approval to go back to work.

“We have agreed that the 296 buses that have successfully been inspected to resume operations today,” said NTSA director-general Francis Meja.

Mr Meja said the sacco had not complied with labour requirements in deducting the statutory National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) fees and lacked a code of conducts for its drivers.

The sacco was suspended last Wednesday following a road accident that involved an Embassava bus and another public service vehicle belonging to Forward Sacco.

Mr Meja said the Embassava bus driver was to blame after failing to obey traffic lights at a junction on Nairobi’s Jogoo Road. The driver of the Forward Sacco vehicle died and 21 passengers were injured in the June 18 incident.

The ban created a transport crisis for commuters from most parts of Nairobi’s Eastlands, given that the sacco has a large fleet of commuter vehicles.

Mr Meja said it the sacco had a fleet of 661 buses, but Embassava officials said some buses had left its sacco.

The NTSA boss ordered the sacco to advertise in the media the buses that are not part of the sacco for public awareness.

On Saturday, the umbrella matatu association officials issued a notice for a strike in solidarity with Embassava, saying that it was unfair for NTSA to ban the entire fleet from operating.

The association’s chairperson Dickson Mbugua said it was not right for the NTSA to impose a ban on the whole sacco.

Residential areas that had been affected by the ban include Donholm, Savannah, Greenfields, Fedha, Pipeline and Nyayo Embakasi.