By: MUCHEMI WACHIRA
Matatu owners and crews on Wednesday reacted angrily to the passing of a Motion that will see all public service vehicles banned from the city centre.
Nairobi MCAs who passed the Motion last week said they had taken it upon themselves to decongest the city.
They argued that heavy traffic experienced in the city centre is a problem they want to eliminate once and for all.
The Motion awaiting assent by the executive will see pick-up and drop-off points used by matatus within the CBD abolished.
But the Matatu Welfare Association (MWA) feels the move is unfair and will hurt many city residents who rely on public service transport.
The change, the association added, will also hurt the county as the PSVs are among its biggest sources of income.
“We want to remind MCAs that between 15,000 to 17,000 matatus offer essential services to over 80 per cent of those who work in city centre each day besides a parking fee of about Sh91 million every month,” MWA chairman Dickson Mbugua told the Daily Nation yesterday.
He added: “The MCAs should also be reminded that matatus contribute a huge amount of the resources they are enjoying.”
DECONGESTING THE CITY
In 2013, Governor Evans Kidero formed a committee that suggested moving matatus from the city centre as one of the ways to decongest it.
Mr Mbugua, who was a member of the team, chaired by Prof Marion Mutugi, said the association was not opposed to the plan to decongest the city.
“What we said in our recommendations is that vehicles that offer essential services such as matatus and buses should only be relocated once proper infrastructure has been put in place,” Mr Mbugua said yesterday.
However, the MCAs, in their Motion, said the matatus and buses should be moved to designated termini outside the city centre as the best way to deal with the heavy traffic.
Parking has become such a serious problem in the city that PSV operators have illegally taken over pedestrian walkways.
Recently, Nairobi County’s Roads and Transport executive Mohamed Abdullahi said the county was putting up termini outside the city centre where matatus will operate from.
He cited a terminus on Murang’a Road, which he said was almost done, and that more would come up.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION