Matatu operators now want the government to set up a training institution targeting the public transport sector.
The school, they say, should be exclusively dedicated to training matatu drivers and conductors.
Matatu Owners Association (MOA) Chairman Simon Kimutai said that setting up a training school with a dedicated curriculum like the ones for aviation, rail and marine sectors will ensure that drivers and conductors are taken through proper training that will in turn improve road safety in the country.
Mr Kimutai decried how many Kenyans still lose their lives and others are injured on the roads, pointing out that the training will provide better skills than what is currently being offered in most driving schools across the country.
He said that the driving schools in the country only provide general skills as opposed to specific training like how to respond to emergencies and customer care.
“The training will focus on most of the ills that are in the sector. Most of the driving schools produce half-baked drivers. If you have a four-year license you should not automatically receive a PSV license but you need to be trained to handle a PSV,” said Mr Kimutai.
He was speaking on Thursday during the MOA national governing council meeting with county representatives at Luke Hotel in Nairobi.
The meeting sought to address issues affecting public transport operators in the country.
The MOA boss said that the public transport sector has been neglected for long although it is an important segment that facilitates movement in the country and a key cog in Kenya’s economic wheel.
“Even if people have to pay, let the training be there so that the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) should stop issuing licenses [based] on the age of the licensee but on the strength of the person being trained, tested and classified,” he said.
On Wednesday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said that NTSA will provide a new curriculum for driving schools whose training will be offered even in the 35 TVET institutions that have been assessed and passed the test of being training centres for drivers.
At the same time, Mr Kimutai called on NTSA to restore order in the sector by only approving new licenses for matatu saccos on a need basis, saying that the sector is saturated as there is over-investment especially in Nairobi.
“NTSA needs to study and see whether there is a demand for the service for them to issue more licenses to organisations who apply rather than giving out the licenses haphazardly,” he said.
He pointed out that MOA has invited officers from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to educate its members on issues of extortions and bribery between drivers, conductors and traffic police officers that is rife in the sector and has continued as if it has been institutionalised.