Tough times ahead as matatus hike fares

Boniface Msangi and Michael Kwena @PeopleDailyKe

Matatu operators in various parts of the country have hiked fares ahead of the introduction of 16 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on petroleum products at the end of the month.

In Coast region, commuters will be forced to dig deeper into their pockets after Matatu Owner’s Association (MOA) Coast chapter announced a 33 per cent fare increase across the counties.

Starting September 1, commuters will pay Sh50 more for inter-county travel and Sh10 to Sh20 in public service vehicles operating within a county.

Passengers travelling from Mombasa to Kilifi will part with Sh250 up from Sh200, while those heading to Malindi from Mombasa will pay Sh400 fare, up from Sh350, according to the new MOA price list.

Matatus operating to either Likoni Ferry or Docks from Magongo, Jomvu  and  Migadini will charge Sh70 more from the current Sh60.

In the anticipated fuel price hike, motorists are set to pay Sh130.15 per litre of petrol as the National Treasury seeks more cash to plug its budget deficit.

MOA Coast co-ordinator Salim Mbarak said they will share the new fares with all transport stakeholders, including county inspectorate and traffic police before implementation.

 “Unless the government withdraws the 16 per cent  fuel levy, then the burden will be equally shared with passenger,” he said.

In Marsabit, hundreds of students were yesterday morning stranded at the main Marsabit bus station after matatus hiked fares.

The operators took the advantage of back-to-school rush to hike fares to various destinations.

Parents blamed the government for alleged failure to streamline the matatu sector. Passengers heading Isiolo from  Marsabit were parting with Sh1,000 up from the previous Sh500.

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