Covid-19: Matatus ask to return to full capacity

Covid-19: Matatus ask to return to full capacity

Matatu owners have requested the government to allow them to return to carrying passengers at full capacity even as the country continues to battle Covid-19 pandemic.

Matatu Owners Association National Vice-Chairman Mr Salim Ali Batesi on Friday said that they would like to have their normal operations restored because this appears to be the norm.

The players, who were meeting at Darajani Hotel in Mombasa County, lamented that they had been oppressed by the government with regards to the application of the Covid-19 rules.

He cited boda boda pillions, aircrafts and the Standard Gauge Railway passenger trains as examples of those that have gone back to normal capacity.

Nairobi County MOA chairman Christopher Muiya predicted that with the reopening of schools and other sectors, there will be an upsurge in the number of passengers, which will require them to run at optimum.

“We have seen the political gatherings with no Covid-19 protocols being followed. Schools are operational; churches, bars and pubs and other entertainment sectors are on. Is this coronavirus a preserve of the matatu industry?” Mr Muiya wondered.

MOA coast region coordinator Mr Salim Mbarak said his members in the county were already adhering to the Covid-19 protocol and called for the arrest of those flouting the set guidelines.

He urged the traffic police, Mombasa County inspectorate and the National Transport and Safety Authority to clamp down on errant members.

“If there are any matatus that are flouting the regulations and risking people’s lives, we agree that those culpable should be arrested. We fully support the Ministry of Health in enforcing the rules,” Mr Mbarak said.

However, he claimed that some places have failed to observe the Ministry of Health measures. He cited the Likoni and Mtongwe Ferry channels and the SGR Metre Gauge Railway stations at Syokimau as some of the places where many members of the public still do not wear face masks.

Applying the guidelines with bias

Mr Mbarak also condemned the political class for applying the guidelines with bias.

The players also want the NTSA to conduct friendly inspections accusing them of being brutal in the recent days.

Mr Muiya also called for enforcement of the cashless payment system as a measure to curb the spread of the virus.

In 2014, President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the PSV cashless 1963 card during the MOA Annual Delegates Conference at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC).

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