CORONAVIRUS EFFECT

Mombasa matatu fares up as few passengers occupy space for bigger number

Transport charges raised by 25 per cent

In Summary

• Matatu Owners Association official said it was not their intention to raise fares but "we had to do it to sustain the business".

• He said they are working out an arrangement that will benefit all stakeholders.

MOA Coast coordinator Salim Mbarak [pink shirt] with matatu operators at Likoni matatu terminal in a past function.
FARES UP MOA Coast coordinator Salim Mbarak [pink shirt] with matatu operators at Likoni matatu terminal in a past function.
Image: BRIAN OTIENO

 

Mombasa matatus have increased fares by 25 per cent as the effects of the coronavirus continue to impact all aspects of daily lives.

Matatu Owners Association Coast coordinator Salim Mbarak told the Star that their new fares are the lowest in the country.

“We had a formula with which we calculated the fare increase. We chose to reduce the fares further so as not to hurt commuters more,” Mbarak said.

Other regions like Nairobi, Central and Nyanza have increased fares by as much as 200 per cent.

Fares from Bamburi to Ferry and Docks are now Sh100, up from the Sh80.

Mtwapa residents will have to dig deeper into their pockets for an extra Sh20 instead of Sh100 to get to GPO.

Matatus plying the Tudor-Ferry/Docks route are paying Sh50 from Sh40.

Stage to stage fare remains Sh30, according to Mbarak.

The MOA official said it was not their intention to raise fares but "we had to do it to sustain the business".

“We are always the last people to raise fares because we understand our people are hurting due to lack of money," the official said.

Mbarak said they are working out an arrangement that will benefit all stakeholders, noting that they are talking with the government to get the fuel prices lowered.

“We gave the government some options. One of them was to reduce fuel prices.” 

The government has ordered 14-seat matatus to carry eight passengers to increase the distance between travellers.

The 25-seater PSVs are now allowed to carry a maximum of 15 passengers.     However, these numbers cannot sustain their business if they retain previous fares, according to matatu owner Eric Matee.                    

These are part of measures to mitigate the spread of the Covid-19.

Mshomoroni resident Razik Owuor said he will have to limit his movement and adjust to the new lifestyle.

“Going to town will now be on a need-be basis. If I have to, I will walk. It's not far and I have done it before,” Owuor said.

According to Mbarak, the new fares are temporary and will be lowered after the Covid-19 is defeated.

He regretted that hand sanitisers are scarce and the few available are sold exorbitantly.

The cheapest goes for Sh1,300. “One matatu requires at least two bottles per day. That is at least Sh2,600. The matatu owner expects between Sh3,000 and Sh4,000 a day. It is not sustainable,” Mbarak told the Star.

He called on the government to help provide free sanitisers to the matatus or make them affordable.