Matatu operators urge gov’t to extend curfew to 8PM

Matatu operators urge gov't to extend curfew to 8PM
Chairman of the Matatu Operators in the City’s CBD, Jamal Ibrahim. PHOTO|COURTESY

Matatu operators in Nairobi now want the government to review the 7PM to 5AM curfew to allow them finish duty at 8PM.

Chairman of the Matatu Operators in the City’s CBD, Jamal Ibrahim says extending the curfew by one hour will prevent the chaos and hiking of fare as was witnessed on the first day of the curfew.

“To stop the hiking of the fare and flouting the curfew directive by the government, I urge the authorities to give dispensation to Matatu crew to at least finish duty by 8PM,” said the matatu operators leader on Saturday.

He, however, expressed support for the restriction of the number of passengers required in each matatu to enhance social distancing to curb spread of the coronavirus.

“The transport sector is vital in the development of our country and therefore we need to create a synergy in fighting the coronavirus pandemic together. So we support restricting the number of passengers we should carry to facilitate social distancing,” added Mr. Ibrahim.

He further endorsed the government’s call on matatu operators to embrace cashless payments to minimise the risk of transmitting the virus through physical handling of money.

A mad rush was witnessed on Friday with thousands of commuters in the city being left stranded as they rushed to beat the 7pm curfew.

With most of the public service vehicles (PSVs) ending their trips way before 7pm to avoid being stuck on the road and breaking the curfew, most passengers were forced to pay two to three times more the normal fares in the few matatus that were available.

Heavy traffic witnessed as a result of the last minute rush also caused a number of passengers to fall on the receiving end of beatings from the police.

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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