Mombasa County government has suspended registration of new tuk tuks in a bid to ease congestion.
County communication director Richard Chacha said tuk tuks that are already registered will continue operating. “The measures are painful but in the long run it will be helpful,” said Mr Chacha.
The three-wheeled vehicles are popular in Mombasa because they are cheaper and can easily manoeuvre around the island easily.
The county government suspended the registration of tuk tuks county with immediate effect on January 8, 2018 through a letter written by Governor Hassan Joho to the county executive in charge of transport and infrastructure, Taufiq Balala.
The letter says their numbers have grown to unmanageable levels causing congestion and pollution that and until a solution is found, the suspension stays in place.
However, Tuk tuk Owners and Drivers Association (Toda) has decried the ban. Toda chairman Obedi Muruli said about 600 new tuk tuks have not been registered since January.
He said the sector has provided employment for many youth in the county. “Every year the sector gets almost Sh5 million which is a boost for the county economy. Tuk tuk operators rely on them to earn a living and we urge the county to allow registration of new ones so that more people can get employment,” said Mr Muruli.
Secretary-general of Toda Mohammed Musa said the decision to stop registration of new tuk tuks will affect the economy.
Mr Musa added that the manufacturers and assemblers of tuk tuks are counting losses and the directive is depriving residents of a reliable and cheaper transport means.
Mr Musa said the association has registered 30,000 tuk tuk drivers and 10,000 owners.
“Many residents in Mombasa rely on tuk tuks as users or owners. We have tuk tuk sacccos thriving. It is unbelievable that the tuk tuks currently operating will be the only ones in the county,” said Mr Musa.