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Matatu owners vow to reject BRT plan

Mathew Ndung’u and Oliver Musembi @PeopleDailyKe

Matatu owners from Kiambu, Murang’a, Laikipia, Nyandarua, Kajiado, Nairobi and Machakos counties have vowed to reject government’s scheme to introduce bus rapid transit (BRT) system aimed at decongesting roads.

 The government says the first batch of the BRT vehicles, which had already been identified in South Africa, is expected to arrive this month, maintaining it will first launch five BRT corridors in Nairobi to reduce traffic congestion in the capital.

On the contrary, investors in the matatu industry want the procurement of the said buses deferred to allow for adequate preparations.

 Making the declaration in an event held at Ruiru stadium on Saturday, the transport sector stakeholders decried that the government did not follow due process in enacting the move.

 Led by Matatu and Boda boda Operators Federation chairman Kushian Muchiri, the investors raised concerns that the government has been formulating transport sector-related policies withoutconsultation, adding that this was hurting their investment.

 “The incoming buses are not meant to decongest the capital. Instead, some rogue parties involved in the importation are pursuing their selfish interests. They are importing the buses at Sh25 million while the same capacity bus, assembled in the country is going for less than Sh10 million,” claimed Muchiri.

 They rejected the phasing out of 14-seater matatus saying it will increase the rate of unemployment. The investors from six matatu owners associations merged to form a united front in an effort to fight BRT scheme by the government as well as the phasing out of 14-seater matatus.

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu who was installed as their patron said  90 per cent of public transport in the county was being conducted by 14-seater matatus terming it irrational to phase them out as they have employed more than 10 million Kenyans both directly and indirectly.

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