The Industrialisation Ministry on Wednesday entered a deal with Vehicle Assemblers to begin assembling high capacity matatus.
The move leaves no doubt about the government intention to phase out the 14-seaters.
Industrialisation permanent secretary Karanja Kibicho yesterday said that plans to ensure the country’s transport system shifts to high capacity vehicles had been in place since 2010.
He asked those opposed to the plan look at the “bigger picture”.
“The move should be supported because other than ease congestion, it will create more jobs unlike what many people think. You should not look at this in terms of drivers and conductors but the bigger picture that will expand our economy,” he said.
Kenya Vehicle Assemblers Association chairperson Rita Kavasha said Kenya stood to gain through the upgrade to high capacity vehicles as it would increase the production of local manufacturers from the current 20 to 50 per cent.
“Those opposed to the move are shortsighted because countries whose economies have grown in the region embraced the idea long ago”, she said, citing South Africa’s Bus Rapid Transit system as an example.
Meanwhile, Matatu Welfare Association chairman Dickson Mbugua brushed off the move saying they would go to court if the government insisted on facing out 14-seaters. (READ: Fresh matatu strike looms over phase-out)
He said that about 1.5 million Kenyans would be adversely affected directly or indirectly should the government go ahead with the plan.