Counties

Transport paralysed as Machakos matatus protest routes ‘invasion’

machakos

Matatu operators harass defiant public service vehicles at Machakos-Kyumbi road in Machakos County on July 21, 2021. Matatus owners in the county withdrew their vehicles from the roads protesting a move by the county government to allow matatus from Kiambu and Nairobi routes to operate in their routes. PHOTO | PIUS MAUNDU

Summary

  • The chairman of Machakos Matatu Owners Association Onesmus Kyalo said they were protesting invasion of their routes by matatus that are meant to ply Kiambu and Nairobi counties roads.
  • The matatus in question belong to Forward Travellers and Embassava saccos whose vehicles ply routes in Nairobi's eastland estates.
  • Majority of the routes from city to estates and satellites towns are getting crowded, increasing competition for the commuters.

Transport to and from Machakos Town was yesterday paralysed after matatu owners withdrew their vehicles from the roads.

The chairman of Machakos Matatu Owners Association Onesmus Kyalo said they were protesting invasion of their routes by matatus that are meant to ply Kiambu and Nairobi counties roads.

"We are protesting a move by the county government to allow matatus which are supposed to operate in Nairobi routes to ply routes in Machakos," said Mr Kyalo. The matatus in question belong to Forward Travellers and Embassava saccos whose vehicles ply routes in Nairobi's eastland estates.

The Business Daily has established that matatus in the two giant saccos are authorised by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to operate in Machakos County.

"The problem emanates with the county government. It has given the matatus letters of no objection without consulting the relevant stakeholders. This is how NTSA has allowed the matatus to ply routes in Machakos County," Mr Kyalo said echoing a senior Machakos police officer privy to the dispute.

"The county government has arbitrarily extended the routes of some matatus that work in Nairobi routes to Machakos and other upcountry routes without involving other players," he said on condition of anonymity.

The strike sent the matatu owners, the police and senior county government officials to a crisis meeting aimed at ending the impasse.

Machakos has witnessed the highest invasion of public service vehicles (PSVs) from Limuru, Eastleigh, Rongai and Thika.

South B matatu owners will also start plying to Machakos and Ruiru.

Majority of the routes from city to estates and satellites towns are getting crowded, increasing competition for the commuters.

“Nairobi is saturated and as matatu operators and business people, we go where there is money,” Nairobi chairman of Matatu Operators Jamal Ibrahim said.