Tough times ahead for Thika Rd. Commuters as PSVs contemplate fare increases.

Chania Travellers Sacco Chairperson John Kiarie Gicharu addressing members of press on Tuesday after he was elected to be in the Thika Sub-County Transport Committee. With him is MOA Mt. Kenya Region Chairman Rufus Kariuki (left).
Thikarians may very soon be forced to spend more on matatu fares should PSV operators along Thika Superhighway actualise their plans to increase fares by between 30 and 60 percent.

Matatu owners have attributed that review to high operational costs that has with time driven majority of them out of business.

Speaking after a meeting to elect officials to the Thika Sub-County Transport Committee, Mt. Kenya Region Matatu Owners Association (MOA) Chairperson Rufus Ngugi Kariuki said that the proposed fare increments were necessitated by some unfair competition among the operators which had forced some of their members to close shop due to losses and accumulation of debts.

“There has been an unfair competition along Thika Road that has seen some of us charging Sh. 30 to go to Nairobi (from Thika). This has turned out to be very punitive especially to new investors who have been forced to bow out of business due to inability to service their vehicles as well as repay their loans. This will have to change,” said the chairman.

Kariuki added that as their elected representative, he will ensured that he will ‘protect the rights’ of his members through regulations that were geared towards leveling the playing field.

“We intend to increase the fares for buses to around Sh. 80 and Sh. 120 for the 14-seater matatus. 
This way, our members will be in a position to enjoy the fruits of their investments,” he said.

(See also: County Transport meeting aborts after matatu operators disrupt proceedings.)

Over the last few months, the fare charged to commute to and from Nairobi had gone down to as low as sh. 30 for the buses, with majority of them charging between sh. 40 and sh. 70 depending on the peak hours. Majority of the 14-seater matatus have for quite a while charged sh. 100.

On matters security, Kariuki absolved his members from accusations that some of their crew were collaborating with thugs to rob commuters. He alleged that most of the carjacking cases reported involved thugs who boarded matatus along the way, specifically around Githurai and Ruiru areas. He cautioned commuters to be extra vigilant and keen to observe the behaviours of those they were travelling with.

During the meeting, Rufus Kariuki and John Kiarie Gicharu (Chania Travellers Sacco Chairperson) were elected to sit in the Thika Sub-County Transport Committee and represent the interests of the industry.

Kiarie promised to instil order and discipline in the matatu industry within the CBD.

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