• Matatu saccos say it would be unrealistic for them to charge normal fares when the number of passengers per 14-seater PSV has been reduced to eight.
• Government urged to intervene and lower fuel prices to cushion travellers from increased fares.
Matatu fares from Mwingi to Nairobi have shot up from Sh400 to Sh700 with the operators attributing this to government directive that vehicles carry fewer passengers in the fight against Covid-19.
They also said that there is little demand to travel.
Travellers to Kitui town are paying an extra Sh200 on top of the normal Sh300.
The new fare to Embu from Mwingi is Sh600 from Sh400 while that to Garissa is Sh500 from Sh300.
Matatu driver Peter Mutua said it is not realistic for them to charge normal fares when the number of passengers per 14-seater PSV has been reduced to eight.
“Carrying fewer passengers at the same old cost does not make business sense,” Mutua said.
“I urge the government to intervene and lower fuel prices to cushion travellers from increased fares,” he said.
Colleague Joseph Musyoka said they had adhered to all government directives including providing hand sanitisers for passengers.
“Every passenger has to wash their hands before boarding any public service vehicle. We provide them with sanitisers,” he said.
“Hiking fares is not our joy but what can we do? We are placed in an awkward position,” Musyoka said.
Stephen Nguna, a passenger, urged the government to intervene and order PSVs to charge normal rates.
Ann Mutiso said she her daughter had given the normal fare from Mwingi to her home in Mbitini but was shocked to hear that the fare had been raised from Sh300 to Sh500.
“I appeal to the government to hear our cry and intervene on transport charges,” she said.