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Matatus defy county order to decongest CBD

Bernard Gitau @benagitau

It was business as usual  yesterday for Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) after defying a Nairobi County order barring them from entering  the city centre.

 In their numbers, matatus and buses picked and dropped off passengers in the central business district (CBD) undeterred as City County administration failed yet another test to implement the ban.

 Speaking to the People Daily, Matatu Owners Association (MOA) chairman Simon Kimutai scoffed at the ban terming it ‘impractical’ and which is doomed to fail.

 “Some of these directives are perplexing because an individual makes them without consulting the stakeholders. We are hearing them through the media,” he said.

 On Friday, City Inspectorate director Peter Mbaya gave the directive that only two Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) per sacco would be allowed in city centre as from yesterday.

 Kimutai accused the Governor Mike Sonko’s administration of failing to decongest the town because of  lack of consultation.

 He urged the county administration to focus on private vehicles, as they are the cause of traffic jams and congestion in the CBD.

“We have at least 20,000 matatus in the city centre at any given time and more than 300,000 private vehicles,” said Kimutai.

The ban was informed by the fact that some PSVs have turned their designated areas into parking lots, thereby causing  traffic snarl-ups in and out of the city. The directive notes that vehicles without picking and dropping points should apply for space.

“There is need to embrace technology in decongesting town and this will be possible if all stakeholders are in agreement,” said Kimutai.

 In September last year,  Sonko was forced to suspend an order, which sought to bar matatus from operating in the city centre. The suspension followed a backlash with sector players.

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