• Association of Matatu Operators chairman Jamal Ibrahim says the continued limitation of PSVs passenger capacity is hurting the industry.
• Matatu Owners Association Coast coordinator Salim Mbarak says they will not withdraw their services.
Matatu owners at the Coast have rejected calls for a nationwide strike starting Tuesday.
The strike has been called by Association of Matatu Operators chairman Jamal Ibrahim to protest the continued limitation of PSVs passenger capacity as part of Covid-19 containment measures.
Ibrahim on October 26 called on all PSVs to withdraw their services, saying the matatu industry has been neglected by the government and the capacity limit is punitive.
However, Matatu Owners Association Coast coordinator Salim Mbarak said operators in the region would not withdraw their vehicles from the road.
“Coast commuters should not worry. Matatus in the region will be operating as normal,” Mbarak told the Star on the phone Sunday.
He said that although the Covid-19 measures are hurting the industry, calling for a nationwide strike may be counterproductive.
“What we need is dialogue. We have to sit down with the government and express our reservations and concerns. All other industries are having restrictions eased, so why not the matatu industry?” Mbarak asked.
He said planes are now allowed to carry at full capacity while the metre gauge railway between Syokimau and the CBD is allowed to carry at maximum capacity.
Mbarak said ferries at the Likoni crossing channel have returned to the old normal, with no social distancing and no wearing of masks. The Kenya Ferry Services has denied the claim.
KFS human resource manager Thomas Tuva, who is holding the brief for managing director Bakarki Goa, said the service is strictly implementing the Covid-19 protocols, especially with the second wave of the virus hitting the country.
“We have enhanced our directives and there is no one who is allowed into the ferry without wearing a mask. Our ferries are marked indicating where commuters should stand,” Tuva said during the Safety Week.
In March, as part of an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19, the government directed 14-seater matatus to carry a maximum of eight passengers, 25-seaters to carry 15, buses whose sitting capacity is 30 and above to have 60 per cent sitting capacity.