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111 vehicles impounded after strike

Wednesday March 5 2014

FRED MUKINDA
By FRED MUKINDA
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More than 100 matatus were impounded and 33 drivers arrested for violating traffic laws after Wednesday’s strike in Nairobi.

Nairobi traffic enforcement officer Edward Mwamburi said the drivers would be charged with obstruction, which attracts a Sh50,000 fine or up to one year in jail.

Highway Patrol Unit’s Charles Keittany said by abandoning their vehicles on the roads, the matatus had broken another law.

The 111 impounded vehicles’ number plates were plucked off and then towed to police stations in Nairobi on the orders of Police Inspector-General David Kimaiyo.

CATCH A TRAIN

The Traffic Act outlaws obstruction or abandoning a vehicle on a road and empowers the court to fine a first offender Sh50,000 or a year in jail.

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Mr Kimaiyo ordered that the number plates be surrendered to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles.

As inconvenienced Kenyans trooped to railway stations to catch the train to work, General Service Unit officers were sent to beef up the Railway Police Unit.

Railways Police Commandant Kirimi Ringera said the GSU was posted after Rift Valley Railways, which runs commuter trains around Nairobi, indicated an upsurge in the number of travellers.

He estimated that over 50,000 commuters used the trains on Wednesday morning.

“Management increased trips and wagons on some routes. With the GSU, we have enough security to ensure rail transport is not disrupted,” Mr Ringera said.

In a statement, railway management said the number of commuters increased by 60 per cent and new trains were introduced on the Embakasi, Kahawa and Dagoretti routes on Wednesday evening.

Commuters board a train in Nairobi on March 5, 2014. PHOTO | WILLIAM OERI

Commuters board a train in Nairobi on March 5, 2014. PHOTO | WILLIAM OERINATION MEDIA GROUP

“Rift Valley Railways ran an extra train to Kahawa, the longest commuter train, that accounts for half the daily commuter traffic. This resulted in a 60 per cent increase in overall numbers,” the statement said.

Introduction of the new trains resulted in adjustments to normal hours.

The rail firm said the revised travel schedules and extra trains were not permanent and would be determined by the situation created by the matatu strike.

In the revised schedule, a train was introduced on the Embakasi route at 5pm in addition to the regular 6.30pm trip.

Another was introduced on the Kahawa route at 4pm, in addition to the normal 6.40pm one.

Travellers to Dagoretti also rode on a 4pm train, while the regular one to Kikuyu at 6pm, which passes through Dagoretti, was maintained.