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PSV operators blame high fares on police, cartels.

Public Service Vehicle operators have opposed the government's plan to regulate fares.

Matatu Owners Association chairman Simon Kimutai on Thursday said Transport CS James Macharia was wrong to attempt to introduce fare regulations for PSV operators.

The government said it wants to protect commuters from exploitation by PSV operators. But Kimutai said the operators were not consulted.

'Price controls in public transport depend on whether the government provides subsidies so there is an effective, reliable and consistent public transport service. In the absence of this, it can't work,' he said.

Kimutai said the government should first rein in traffic police who he said extort money from PSV operators and cartels 'who own stages and passengers'.

He said PSV owners pay up to Sh1,500 to police per day to operate while gangs and cartels are demanding almost half of the matatu income.

The chairman said Macharia has no information on anything regarding the sector, which is already making losses.

SUBSIDIES

Kimutai said the reason the PSV industry is disorganised is because of poor policies. The MOA chairman said the government has failed to crack down on unlicensed operators 'who are eating into the thin PSV margins' and the counties are supporting them by collecting levies and allocating parking fees.

He said the country no longer has scheduled buses like decades ago and this has led to congestion and all the ills in the sector.

In those days, bus owners partnered with the city council. Today, it is a free for all system and there are no controls in terms of allowing new entrants, he said.

'When a regulator rushes to set limits without carrying out a study to establish if there is a demand for the product it does not augur well,' Kimutai said.

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Mar 15, 2019
Words:354
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