ABOUT TURN

Mombasa tuk tuk operators want ban on registration

They say the three-wheelers have become too many on the roads, resulting in low profit

In Summary
  • Last year when the county government stopped registration of new tuk tuks operators protested
  • They say Muruli they generate about Sh10 million monthly for the county government
Tuk tuks parked at Tononoka grounds in Mombasa on Tuesday, September 10, 2019
TOO MANY: Tuk tuks parked at Tononoka grounds in Mombasa on Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

Tuk tuk operators in Mombasa have made an about turn and now want the registration of new ones temporarily stopped.

They said the three-wheelers have become too many on the roads, resulting in low profit.

“Tuk tuk is a good business. At least you go home with something. But they have become too many. Competition. If possible, let the county government ban the registration of new ones for a period of even up to five years,” said Ramadhan Shaban, an operator.

Tuk tuk Owners and Drivers (Toda) chairman Obedi Muruli said supply has exceeded demand.

“We are not saying tuk tuk should be taken out of the roads. No. We just want a better system of regulation, even if it means a temporary ban on registration. Too much of anything is poison,” Muruli said.

Last year when the county government stopped registration of new tuk tuks Muruli opposed the decision, saying it would lock many youths out of employment.

The association had registered 30,000 tuk tuk drivers and 10,000 owners at the time.

On Tuesday, Muruli said last year the county wanted to implement the ban in the wrong way.

“Their plan was poor. They were refusing to register new tu tuks yet they allowed suppliers to import more tuk tuks,”

Muruli explained that last year’s directive would have made many innocent investors lose money.

“One would have ended up buying a tuk tuk at Sh400,000 only for it to be denied an operating licence because it would not have been registered. That is why they should engage us the stakeholders,” Muruli said.

The operators moved to court, which suspended the ban on registration.

Muruli said the industry generates about Sh10 million monthly for the county government.

Each tuk tuk in Mombasa pays parking fee of Sh1,200 per month.

There are at least 7,500 registered tuk tuks in Mombasa, Muruli said.

The tuk tuk operators want a meeting with the county government and other stakeholders to discuss their issues.

They say the Sh1,200 parking fee paid to the Mombasa county government is too high compared to the Sh600 their counterparts in Kilifi and Kwale counties pay.

Nicholas Oyugi, a tuk tuk operator, said they pay double or even triple parking fees just for crossing into a neighbouring county.

“When I take a client from Mombasa CBD to Mtwapa, the Kilifi inspectorate guys want you to pay for their monthly sticker. The same happens when we take clients to Ukunda in Kwale county,” Oyugi said.

This, he said, hurts them considering they rarely make those trips to Kilifi and Kwale county.

“I may find a client who wants to be taken to Mtwapa or Ukunda once a month,” Oyugi said.

Tuk Tuk Operators and Drivers CBO chair Obedi Muruli at Tononoka ground on Tuesday.
Tuk Tuk Operators and Drivers CBO chair Obedi Muruli at Tononoka ground on Tuesday.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI