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Commuters stranded as PSVs withdraw services

Alvin Mwangi and Sophie Njoka @PeopleDailyKe

Hundreds of commuters in Nairobi and its environs were yesterday left stranded for the second day running after matatu operators downed  tools to protest enforcement of traffic laws popularly   known as “Michuki rules”.

Most commuters were forced to trek to workplaces  while some opted to remain at home after the few public service vehicles   in operation hiked fares.

Commuters in Nairobi’s Eastlands were the most affected with some even opting to use boda boda which charged exorbitant fares.

In Ruai, the PSVs available charged Sh300 from the normal fee of Sh100. Commuters scrambled to board the vehicles and only the strongest survived the push and pull. 

The situation was the same on Thika Road as matatu operators  available doubled fares.

“I have been here for the last three hours, no vehicle is coming by and anytime a vehicle comes I am unable to  board because of my advanced age,” said Grace Wanjiru, 61.

The financially endowed opted to hire taxis which caused major traffic snarl-ups on  the highway.

Boda boda operators did booming business. James Karanja, of Githurai told People Daily he was charging Sh500 from  the estate to the city centre. By 9am yesterday,  he had earned Sh4,500,  an amount he  earns on a full working day.

“So far, so good. I have made close to Sh4,500  from the few trips I have made to town and I am even waiting for more,” he said.

In Mombasa, tuk tuk operators cashed in on the transport crisis caused by withdrawal of some PSVs  because of non-compliance with the traffic regulations.

The crackdown, which kicked off on Sunday, saw many matatu operators in Mombasa keep off the roads for  fear of arrest.

Coast Regional Traffic Commandant Emmanuel Okanda said traffic police had kicked off the exercise targeting vehicles with blaring horns, bull bars and tinted windows.

“ We have kicked off the exercise in the entire Coast region, those arrested will be  charged,” he said.

Traffic Commandant Samuel Kimaru said the crackdown was in  readiness  for gazetted enforcement  of the ‘Michuki rules’ slated for November 12.

However, fuel dealers in Nairobi decried low business as  most of their customers are matatu operators.

“From morning, I have served only three people, a big loss for us today. I even don’t know what we will do with the remaining fuel that we have planned to sell today,”  a manager with a petrol station in Dandora, who requested not to be named said.

Matatu operators made good their threat to keep off the roads  to protest the crackdown which the government says will bring sanity on the roads.

Both Interior CS Fred Matiangi and his Transport counterpart James Macharia have maintained that every PSV should comply  with the rules before November 12.

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