The ongoing crackdown on non-compliant matatus is meant to “prepare” public service vehicle (PSV) operator across the country as the government makes final steps to start implementing the so-called ‘Michuki rules’ next week.
“This was meant to prepare PSV operators ahead of the major crackdown starting next week across the country,” Traffic Commandant Samuel Kimaru told Shipping and Logistics.
“We want to see PSV operators putting on uniforms, their vehicles fitted with seatbelts and speed governors. All these are provided for in the law and they cannot run away from it.”
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia and his Interior counterpart Fred Matiang’i last month gave matatus operators up to November 12 to comply with the Michuki rules to curb road carnage in the country.
Under the new rules which take effect on November 12, public transport operators must fit their vehicles with speed governors and seatbelts as well as have a yellow continuous line
The crackdown, which started on Monday, left hundreds of city commuters stranded as few matatus that were operating increased fares forcing commuters to pay between Sh150 to Sh200 from the estates to the Central Business District (CBD).
At the Ruai bypass, there were no matatus to ferry passengers into the CBD as police continued to nab vehicles which did not have seatbelts.
In Kasarani, only one operator, Mwiki Sacco Limited, was operating in the early morning and the vehicles were charging between Sh150 and Sh250 to the Nairobi city centre.
The matatus were also not entering the city centre, instead dropping off passengers at Ngara, to avoid the crackdown.
Traffic commandant Samuel Kimaru however said police will continue arresting public transport operators who have failed to comply with the Michuki rules.
The rules are aimed at curbing accidents that claimed about 2,214 lives in the nine months to September, according to the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA).
The crackdown comes barely a few days after the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) revoked the operator licence of seven matatu saccos that have been plying various routes across the country for lacking vehicles.
NTSA director for registration and licensing, Jacqueline Githinji said the saccos were deregistered for failing to have at least 30 operational Public Service Vehicles (PSV) required by regulations for a sacco to be able to operate.
The saccos that were deregistered includes Molo Sacco, Nairobi’s Hannover Commercial Enterprise and Peja Travellers.
Molo Shuttle Sacco plies the Nairobi-Nakuru-Kisii route, Hannover plies along Waiyaki Way to Kikuyu as well as Thika Road to Kasarani and Mwiki.
Peja Travellers operates along Jogoo Road to Jericho and Maringo.
New Lowland Sacco that operates from Nakuru to Kabarnet and Marigat in Baringo County, and Nairobi Kiruline Services that travels from the capital to Nyahururu via Nyeri, and Gakanango Sacco, have also been deregistred.
Gakanago ferries passengers from Nyeri to Ngobit in Laikipia County.