The government has drafted amendments to the traffic and the National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA) laws seeking to control fares charged by public transporters.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia in a presentation to the National Assembly Transport and Housing committee Tuesday said the move is aimed at cushioning the public against exploitation through overcharging by public service vehicles (PSVs) across the country.
Mr Macharia, who was represented by Chief Administrative Secretary Chris Obure, said the proposals are at an advanced stage with the legal department in the ministry and will soon be presented to the cabinet for adoption before being presented to Parliament.
The ministry is proposing to amend section 119 (1) of the Traffic Act by introducing a new sub-section that will allow the Cabinet Secretary to prescribe the regulation of public service vehicle fare tariffs.
Once the amendment has been effected, the Cabinet Secretary will have a legal mandate to determine the formula for establishing the tariff, review mechanism of the tariff and penalty for non-compliance.
The ministry further wants section 4(2) of the NTSA Act amended by introducing a new subsection that will allow for establishment of public service vehicle fare tariffs.
“The amendments will ensure effective regulation of fare tariffs by the authority similar to the regulation of petroleum process by the Energy Regulatory Commission.
“The process has already started and it is with the legal team in the ministry. It will not take long before it is presented to the cabinet. The team has been instructed to fast-rack the process,” Mr Obure told the MPs.
Mr Obure said the government is aware of the exploitation of the public by the transport sector and the amendments are meant to protect the people.
The public service vehicle subsector is governed by the Traffic Act Cap 403, National Transport and Safety Authority Act No 33 of 2012 and attendant regulations.
Under these laws, there is no express provision that enables the authority to regulate fares charged by the PSV operators leading to situations where operators exploit passengers at will.