Thursday, November 29, 2012

Commuters stranded as matatus strike

Commuters hike a lift from a private car on Nairobi's Ngong Road after matatus  kept off the road November 29, 2012 to protest the implementation of the new traffic laws.

Commuters hike a lift from a private car on Nairobi's Ngong Road after matatus kept off the road November 29, 2012 to protest the implementation of the new traffic laws.   SALATON NJAU/ NATION MEDIA GROUP

By NATION TEAM

Hundreds of commuters were forced to walk to work on Thursday after public transport operators kept off the road.

In Nairobi, matatus plying various routes went on strike to protest the new traffic rules.

Transport was paralysed in Ngong town as matatus number 125/126 kept off the road. The same situation obtained on Limuru Road.

In Eldoret, the 14-seater vehicles paralysed transport in the town.

The affected routes include Langas, Huruma and Chepkoilel towns. However, mini-buses were operating but could not cope with demand even as boda boda operators made good business.

Stranded commuters opted to walk to the town, especially those about five kilometres out.

In Nakuru and Kisumu business went on as usual.

Matatu operators in the Rift Valley town said they would make their stand known on December 4 during a road safety workshop that industry leaders are expected to attend.

Matatu Welfare Association (MWA) chairman Simon Mbugua urged the operators to resume duty saying there was no ground to warrant the strike.

"It is a strike that no one is owning up to,” said Mr Mbugua.

He said the new traffic laws must be complied with.

Mr Mbugua said the MWA was engaging the Ministry of Transport to ensure the the driving school curriculum is standardised.

"AA currently offers a total of 35 lessons while the other driving schools offer an average of 18."

Reported by Leonard Mutinda, Mazera Ndurya, Suleiman Mbatiah and Daniel Otieno