Matatu operators blocked Kisii-Keroka highway on Tuesday in protest against double parking and sticker charges by Kisii county.
Their demonstration also concerned higher fuel prices following the 16 per cent levy on petroleum products.
County commuters' chairperson George Nyariki said the sticker charges were increased from Sh2,000 to Sh3,500 yet they were not consulted.
The county keeps increasing the charges, he said, adding: “The county has failed to expand the matatu stage whose condition has deteriorated over the years. It is very congested."
Citing the Sh3,500, the Sh60 daily for parking and the new fuel costs, he said the charges were "too much".
The protesters barricaded the busy highway for the better part of the day, paralysing traffic on the road that leads to neighbouring Tanzania.
They said they will stage protests outside county office from next week should the county maintain the charges.
The demonstrators claimed county officers harassed them when they tried to raise their grievances on Monday.
“We have not been in business for three days now and our efforts to reach the officers for consultation have been futile since they are not ready to listen to us,” said Mr David Nyakundi, a driver.
A trader named Mary Mogere said: “I have stayed here for more than seven hours so I have incurred losses worth Sh3,000 as my three sacks of ripe avocados, which I was to take to Keumbu market about 10 kilometers away, have gone bad."
Police officers arrived later, talked to the operators for about two hours and then cleared the highway.
Kisii Central OCPD, Mr Francis Nguli, said they arrested matatu officials for obstruction and incitement, and that they will be taken to court on Wednesday.
"We will not let innocent passengers suffer since there are legal ways of presenting complaints," he said.