(KDRTV) – Health CS Mutahi Kagwe has asked Matatu operators not to increase their fares over the Coronavirus directive.
On Friday, the CS directed all public service vehicles to carry only a 60% of their usual passenger capacities.
This means that a 14-sitter vehicle cannot carry more than 8 people while its 25 sitter sister is supposed to carry a maximum of 15 people.
Matatu operators have responded to this directive by doubling the fare to different destinations.
Matatu operators should be sympathetic with Kenyans using PSVs. Hiking bus fare simply because the government has called for social distancing is a NO. Covid-19 is dangerous, let’s be humane. Govt must look into this #COVID19 #COVID19KE
— Philip Etale (@EtalePhilip) March 22, 2020
The operators have argued that, the government cannot reduce the passenger load and not reduce fuel prices.
A spot check by KDRTV, showed Nairobi-Nakuru charging up to Ksh 600 per person. The normal fare is Ksh300.
Passengers commuting between the city centre and Utawala were forced to pay Ksh200 shillings.
Kagwe has said that it is immoral for Matatu operators to want to make the same earnings they make on normal days.
“We have observed that some PSVs have increased fares to comply with directive issued.We appeal to them not to do so as it will be counterproductive in trying to contain coronavirus.That one sector will punish everyone so as to earn as much as they can is immoral,” Kagwe said on Monday.
The government should not give the matatu sector a chance to blackmail Kenyans. If matatu owners feel it’s too much for them, let them withdraw their vehicles and we walk to whatever the place we want. This is not time for negotiations🙄🙄
— Nimu Kiarie (@Wairimu__Mercy) March 23, 2020
He asked the operators to consider reducing the charges to ensure the social distancing order is effective.