State justifies full passenger capacity for rail, air transport

Mochache says the two modes are well controlled and coordinated to ensure health safety

In Summary
  • Mochache disclosed that the ministry was working on reviewing the protocols to allow the return of full load capacity in the country roads.
  • The plan was however frustrated by the third wave of Covid-19.
Health PS Susan Mochache
CLARIFICATION: Health PS Susan Mochache
Image: FILE

The government is not considering reviewing the directive on full capacity for rail and air transport during this Covid-19 pandemic, Health PS Susan Mochache has said.

The PS while appearing before the National Assembly Health Committee said the rail and air transport will continue carrying passengers at full capacity despite the health protocols requiring that 1.5 metres physical distance is maintained between passengers.

Mochache told MPs that unlike road transport, the two forms of transport are well controlled and coordinated to ensure safety of passengers.

“Rail and air conveyances have controlled air suction that continuously filters fresh air into the cabins, unlike public road transport vehicles,” she said.

“Further, there is strict procedures that guides the booking, ticketing, on-boarding and sitting arrangements in these two modes of transport.”

She said thorough screening of the passengers especially temperature screening and hand sanitising at several points before boarding, eliminates entry of suspected cases into the cabin and helps in keeping passengers safe.

The PS was appearing before the session chaired by Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny to respond to questions raised by Starehe lawmaker Charles Njagua.

Njagua had sought answers as to why the government was allowing rail and air transport to carry passengers at full capacity during the Covid-19 pandemic period while subjecting other means of public transport to reduced passenger capacity requirements.

The MP also demanded an explanation on whether there were plans by the government to allow PSVs to scale up to full capacity given that a number of them are servicing bank loans.

“Matatu owners are currently operating and running into losses largely due to loans and financial commitments with their financiers,” Njagua said.

In her response, Mochache said the ministry was working on reviewing the protocols to allow the return of full passenger capacity, a move that was frustrated by the third wave that the country experienced in recent months.

“The protocols were reviewed to among other things allow PSVs to carry full capacity subject to the enhanced safety measures and self-regulation through the PSV sacco and companies. This was to facilitate continued safety for passengers while mitigating the spread of the Covid-19,” Mochache said.

“However, before the protocol could be implemented, the third wave of the pandemic hit the country. It is the hope of the ministry that the PSVs will be able to resume the full load carrying capacity when the country emerges from the current phase of the pandemic.”

-Edited by SKanyara