Matatu operators in Murang’a laud lifting movement cessation to Nairobi

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A worker with Murang’a shuttle, sanitizing a matatu before passengers are allowed to board. Matatu saccos which ply Murang’a-Nairobi route have lauded the government for lifting movement cessation to the capital city.
Photo by Bernard Munyao

A section of matatu operators in Murang’a have lauded President Uhuru Kenyatta for lifting movement cessation to and from Nairobi.

Since the ban was imposed three months ago, the operators have cried about the huge losses they have incurred as they parked their vehicles after government locked movement to and from Nairobi metropolis.

Chairman of Murang’a Shuttle Mr. Martin Wairimu, today said lifting of the movement ban in three counties will help many families which depend on the matatu industry.

Wairimu observed that his Sacco since March this year has been making losses amounting to Sh. 12 million per month.

He said they had converted some of their vehicles to ferry luggage which has not been making any meaningful profit.

“After the easing of movement ban, we will embark on installing seats of the vehicles which we had converted to carry luggage,” he said.

Wairimu observed that more than 2000 vehicles that used to transport passengers between Murang’a and Nairobi regions are currently grounded.

On Monday, when he addressed the nation, President Uhuru Kenyatta said that public service vehicles will require clearance from ministries of health and transport before resuming services.

The operators also are required to ensure given guidelines are strictly followed, so as to contain spread of covid-19.

Wairimu said although the inter-county movement was allowed, it will take some time before they resume operations as they need time to obtain clearance from the ministry of health.

“I appeal to the ministry of health to hasten issuance of the clearance so as to allow us to resume our operations without much delay,” he added.

Matatu industry in Murang’a is said to have directly employed more than 10, 000 people with other many indirect employments.

Mechanics in the county have decried the lack of businesses after matatu ceased to ferry people to and from Nairobi.

“We are happy as we will be back to work. For the three months, some of us were staying without income as vehicles which we used to service were grounded,” noted one of a Murang’a based mechanic, Joseph Maina.

A food hawker in Murang’a bus station, Mercy Njoki said most of her customers were drivers, but since the lockdown at Nairobi she was struggling to make ends meet.

“The opening of Nairobi, will help me to continue with my daily businesses. Majority of my customers were drivers and when the vehicles were grounded, even making a hundred shillings was not easy,” she added.

Another Matatu operator, Peter Kabure said they will strictly adhere to government’s guidelines, so as to ensure their vehicles will not be an avenue to spread coronavirus.

“Passengers will be required to wash their hands before boarding our vehicles. The seats will be sanitized every time to control the spread of this virus,” noted Kabure.