Looming matatu strike as CBD ban takes effect Wednesday

Looming matatu strike as CBD ban takes effect Wednesday

A new measure proposed by the Nairobi County to decongest the central business district has met resistance, with the Matatu industry now threatening to stage a strike to protest its implementation.

The measure, which seeks to restrict all Public Service Vehicles (PSVS) from accessing the Nairobi CBD, starting Wednesday, September 20, has also caused uproar among commuters who say the directive was harsh and unrealistic as it will expose them to danger.

Despite being a noble initiative towards a sanitized city, stakeholders have questioned the practicality of it, with Government Data showing that 30,000 PSVs come in and out of the city’s heart every day and 170 matatu SACCOS are licensed to operate within the city using at least 32 official routes.

“Matatus won’t know where to drop and disembark passengers, people won’t know how much to charge, people will either walk longer or spend more the sick the aged how will they be cared for,” questioned the Bus Operators Chairperson, Edwin Mukabana, during an interview with the Citizen Digital.

Kenyans also took to social media to express their dissatisfaction.

On twitter, one Teddy Babayao wondered how passengers accessing the city using Thika Road will be able to walk from the CBD up to Fig Tree at night without being attacked by robbers. Rose Bongo asks whether county officials have been to Muthurwa, one of the proposed bus terminuses in the new initiative, to know of the poor state of the area. Catherine Amayi reckons that the ban is another way of punishing the poor for being poor, owing to the fact that private vehicles are not part of this ban while Viola Cherotich asks whether slay queens will be gully-creeping from Muthurwa to Ngara.

Some have called for the proper planning of the initiative first before implementing it, insisting that Nairobi residents are not ready yet.

However, experts now says that there are a number of issues that unless addressed will impede the implementation process. They include factors such as security infrastructure, state and management of the new termini, social amenities must first be catered for before the implementation.

“Our thinking is that probably the notice came a bit too soon than we expected making it difficult to implement the 20th may deadline,” added Mukabanah.

A section of operators have maintained that they will not move to the new termini.

In an attempt to make the plan a success, a consultative meeting between the County Government and major stakeholders is scheduled for early next week.

“We have to support the county in implementing this new plan, let us not resist change,” said Nairobi Women Representative, Esther Passaris.

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