Matatu owners threaten nationwide strike over government’s decision to introduce tolling stations on more roads.
The Matatu Operators under the Motorists Association of Kenya have threatened to down their tools and stage a nationwide protest following Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen’s announcement on plans to introduce tolling on major highways.
Addressing a section of the media on Tuesday, February 6, the operators noted that the new announcement is meant to cripple the matatu business sector which is already shrinking.
The Motorists Association of Kenya noted that the sector is already feeling the pinch following the increase in fuel prices and new tax policies introduced by the current regime.
They made it clear that adding toll stations on major highways would exacerbate an already dire situation.
Moreover, the matatu operators called out the Transport CS insisting that he did not provide an alternative to motorists who cannot pay the toll fees on the major highway.
“A toll road should have an alternative for the users who do not want to use that, so it should be optional, and the option being given is being neglected,” its chairperson Peter Murima stated.
“That is why we fear when we are told we are going to use the feeder roads where these public roads will be taken which means we have to turn around and go different paths to avoid your road which you used to enjoy. There is freedom for motoring and we are going to battle for it.
Yes we are being taxed but we should see the benefits of the taxes,” added the Motorist Association chairperson.
The Matatu Association thus gave CS Murkomen a 21-day ultimatum to address the situation regarding tolling roads, or their members would start a nationwide strike.
Murkomen had hinted at introducing toll stations on major highways in the country. The CS noted that the move was critical for raising funds to maintain roads in the country.
“We will make sure that, from all those tolled roads, the resources are transferred back to the people of Kenya by giving them quality roads,” Murkomen stated.
Among the highways he suggested included Athi River-Namanga Road and Galleria-Rongai-Ngong-Karen Shopping Centre. Others were Mombasa to Malaba, Corridor C and D roads which are Museum Hill-Moyale and Sirare- Lodwar respectively, and Kiambu Road.