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Alarm as over 100,000 drivers yet to receive licences

Monday July 13 2020
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Mombasa residents at the offices of the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) on May 7, 2020. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By SIAGO CECE

More than 100,000 people across the country are yet to receive driving licences despite applying months ago, a sign of a looming crisis at the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA).

Over 2,000 drivers in Mombasa are yet to receive the licences yet they applied online in February and March.

John Magara, vice chair of the Association of Driving Schools in Kenya National Vice Chairperson John Magara, said the delay has affected general operations in most driving schools.

“We do not understand why the process is slow. Many people have not received their licenses as promised. We have drivers who applied in February but up to now, they are yet to get them,” said Mr Magara.

He noted that those lacking the document are at risk of arrest despite paying for them.

“It would be best for the NTSA to issue a document other than the invoice to show they are eligible to drive. Enforcers, who are police,  have not been informed,” added Mr Magara.

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VIRUS IMPACT

After the coronavirus was confirmed in Kenya in March, the NTSA suspended services that required applicants’ physical presence.

This included issuing of log books, public service vehicle badges  number plates and smart driving licenses, driver testing and vehicle inspections.

Fred Kahindi, a qualified driver who applied for a licence in February, said he has never been notified about it.

“I heard that their office was open so I visited but they kept on sending me back, telling me the licence was not yet ready,” he told the Nation.

“We were told licences would be ready in three weeks but it has been five months.”

The delays have also caused crowding at the authority’s offices.

To acquire a license, drivers are required to apply online, pay a fee of Sh3,050 and later collect their documents from regional offices.

A spot check in Mombasa found that many of the drivers who went to collect the documents were turned back.

RE-SCHEDULING

Contacted, NTSA Director-General George Njao said those scheduled to collect their documents will be notified by SMS.

“In order to mitigate against the risk of Covid-19, the authority developed a continuity plan that provides for initiatives such as service re-scheduling, with customers notified via SMS on when and where to receive services,” he said.

Mr said the re-scheduling applies to processes of acquiring driving licence processes as well as vehicle inspection and collection of log books.

He said services including application for smart driving licences have been available through individual’s accounts.

“We have served thousands of customers despite the restrictions. We urge the public to strictly adhere to timelines and the safety precautions set at service points,” he said.

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