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February 16, 2019

Matatu owners split over calls to tame rogue crews

Matatu owners are reading from a different script over what needs to be done to punish rogue crews. /FILE
Matatu owners are reading from a different script over what needs to be done to punish rogue crews. /FILE

Matatu Owners Association chairman Simon Kimutai has accused the government of neglecting the public transport sector.

He said matatu drivers and touts lack proper training resulting in deteriorating behaviour on the roads.

"They need education on etiquette because bad behaviour is creeping back," the official told the Star on Monday.

"A driving licence is issued as certification for a driver's ability, what about a conductor? asked Kimutai.

He said most drivers are focused on making money but they ignore traffic laws.

Read: NIBS student dies after tout pushes her out of moving bus on Thika Road

However, Matatu Welfare Association (MWA) chairman Dickson Mbugua disagreed with Kimutai saying the sector should not always rely on the government for such matters.

"One cannot say he or she does not know that speeding is against traffic laws. Does that require training?" asked Mbugua.

He urged Kimutai to engage members of the association and remind them of traffic regulations.

Mbugua told the Star in the last quarter of the year, the MWA will launch a training programme for all road users.

"People will be taken through road maintenance, traffic regulations and how to use roads," he said.

Mbugua said the training will be part of a three-year programme.

Both officials condemned an accident in which four people were killed on Saturday in Nairobi.

The vehicle belonging to Latema Sacco ran over passengers who were waiting to board matatus near the Old Nation roundabout.

Also read: Marimba Sacco touts charged with murder of Joseph Kiarie

Nairobi Transport, Roads and Infrastructure CEC Mohamed Dagane said he was saddened by the accident.

"This is overall indiscipline in the matatu sector. It is obnoxious for a matatu driver to hit people at a designated bus stage," Dagane said.

He said the driver who escaped must be arrested and prosecuted.

The matatu sector has been in the spotlight over increasing road deaths

Last month, a bus conductor in a City Shuttle Sacco allegedly pushed a security guard out of a moving bus along Waiyaki Way over a Sh10 transport, leading to his death.

In another case in the same month, a Nairobi Institute of Business Studies student died after she was pushed from a moving vehicle on Thika Road.

There has been a public outcry over a tout who has been accused of assaulting passengers at a bus station in Nairobi.

It's said he enjoys protection from the police and a Sacco at Tea Room stage.

Nairobi Police Commander Joseph ole Tito said the Directorate of Criminal Investigation will open investigations into the tout's conduct.

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