Murang’a fuel shortage disrupts transport

fuel crisis

Motorists and boda boda riders queue for fuel at a petrol station in Sotik.

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

The transport sector in Murang’a town and its environs is in a crisis following an acute shortage of fuel.

A spot check conducted by Nation.Africa across all the region revealed that major petrol stations had closed after running out of fuel. Only one station, MTN owned by a local matatu Sacco, was in operation. The situation caught both private and public transport operators unawares, with many saying they had no option but to change their travel plans.

Desperate motorists and boda-boda operators lined up at the station to refuel their vehicles and motorbikes, with those whose vehicles and bikes had stalled carrying portable fuel containers. At the Astrol station, workers took advantage of the shortage to clean the facility.

At Rubis and Total, attendants could be seen signalling the vehicles to turn as there was no fuel. At National Oil, the station had only diesel and attendants limited the cost of fuel lorry drivers could buy to Sh3,000.

Speaking to the media, Peter Mwariri, a transporter, said the shortage had hurt their businesses. "We have parked our vehicles because of a lack of fuel. I came to town after learning that one filling station has some diesel,” said Mr Mwariri.

Mr Silview Ibai, a boda boda operator, said they could not ferry customers. "I left my bike by the roadside after it ran out of fuel.”

Mr John Maina, a matatu driver, warned that they would hike fares if the shortage was not immediately addressed. “I have really struggled to get the fuel. I have been to all the petrol stations and am lucky to find some here.”

Ms Nancy Wanjiru, an event organiser, accused the government of sleeping on its job, leading to the shortage. “We are suffering.”

Some motorists ordered fuel from neighbouring Kirinyaga County, where a litre was retailing at Sh150, up from Sh135.

Some of the drivers were forced to order for fuel in Jerricans from the neighbouring Kirinyaga County where a litre is retailing at Sh150 up from the normal Sh135.