PSV operators split over price reduction after drop in fuel cost

New pump prices which dropped yesterday after the review by the energy regulatory body on 14th.January.2018/EZEKIEL AMING'A
New pump prices which dropped yesterday after the review by the energy regulatory body on 14th.January.2018/EZEKIEL AMING'A

Matatu operators are divided over reduction of fares after Monday’s fuel price review by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

Commuters on the other hand are seeking a reduction saying public service operators are quick to raise fares when pump prices go up.

Petrol and diesel prices dropped by Sh9.33 and Sh10.04 per litre respectively, after the monthly review for the period between January 15 and February 14 to retail at Sh104.21 and 102.2 per litre in Nairobi respectively.

The price of kerosene also decreased by Sh3.52, to retail at Sh101.7 per litre.

Fares on the Kasarani, Mirema and Rongai to CBD remained at Sh50, Sh80 and Sh100 respectively.

Association of Matatus chairman Jamal Mohammed said saccos among them Kenya Bus, Ongataline, Embassava, Tel Aviv, ZamZam, Metro Trans, Double M and Unified would reduce fares by Sh10.

“If the government reduces the fuel prices, then it is obviously upon us to be considerate and lower our charges. For example to Githurai it will reduce from Sh30 to Sh20,” Mohammed said.

Mohammned said the association had directed adjustments to over 265 saccos and 13,000 matatus even in Mombasa.

However, his Matatu Owners Association counterpart Simon Kimutai said the gain will not be transferable to commuters.

He said vehicles spend close to 50 litres of fuel a day, translating to only Sh500 in savings with the new fuel prices for a vehicle that ferries 350 people in a day.

“The benefit is so small and it would not be practical to lower fares by Sh1 or Sh2,” Kimutai said.

He added fuel prices are always fluctuating and it is not certain what next months prices will be. Fuel prices have dropped two months in a row.

In the December 15 to January 14 review, the cost per litre of petrol and diesel was reduced by Sh4.57 and Sh0.55 to retail at Sh113.54 and Sh112.28 respectively.

In the review for November 15 to December 14, the pump prices had increased by Sh2.38, Sh3.11 for super petrol and diesel to retail at Sh118.11 and Sh112.83 respectively.

Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) secretary general Stephen Mutoro said the matatu operators have no genuine reason to retain the high prices.

“Kimutai should not go into hiding. They must reduce fares now that fuel prices have gone down,”said Mutoro.