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Matatu operators association wants sellers of 'fake' speed governors arrested

Sunday December 2 2018

A technician installs a digital speed governor on a matatu. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A technician installs a digital speed governor on a matatu. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

COLLINS OMULO
By COLLINS OMULO
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A section of matatu operators have vowed not to fit new upgraded speed governors on their vehicles unless they are compensated by the government.

The operators under the Association of Matatu Operators (Amo) want the government to arrest, prosecute and blacklist owners of companies that supplied them with ‘fake’ speed governors that they currently have.

Matatu operators have until March 1 next year to fit their Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) weighing above 3,048 tonnes with upgraded speed limiters that are tamper proof and synchronized with computer servers.

This comes after the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) and the State Department for Infrastructure agreed that the new speed limiters should conform to the device standards.

'CARTELS'

Amo chairman Jimal Ibrahim said that the government must first recall all the speed governors that were sold to them before, revoke the licenses of those who sold them and give the operators back the money they spent to buy the new ones.

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“As we are speaking, my members are not ready to buy the new speed governors. There is nothing called latest. We are not ready to be milked once again. We are tired. We have bank loans to repay yet everyone is pressing us to the wall. Give us a break and let us do our job in peace,” said Mr Ibrahim on Sunday.

He accused the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure and NTSA of allowing cartels into the sector turning provision of speed limiters into a business.

“We installed speed governors during Michuki’s time and we were told they were tamper-proof. When Kamau [former Transport secretary Michael Kamau] took over he also told us to put another tamper-proof speed governors, we played fools and put them despite fighting hard saying that was the latest technology

“Then after three years now we are again being told to install new ones by the new Cabinet secretary [James] Macharia. Any minister coming in is speed governor. How much are they making from this business? I think there are cartels running this business,” he said.

NEW GADGETS

The new gadgets will see NTSA have control of the data from PSVs across the country for the first time since the start of the implementation of speed governor policy.

Speed data from the PSVs – once the new devices have been put in place – will be transmitted to NTSA servers for curb manipulation and real-time monitoring. It is assumed that without the control of the NTSA and lack of data, the current speed governors are prone to tampering.

In 2015, NTSA revoked licenses for four brands and suspended 11 others from supplying speed governors, claiming that the owners of the affected companies duped Kebs when applying for approval as they did not meet the required standards.

This was after it was discovered that matatu crews were tampering with the analogue sets, hence the need to introduce tamper-proof governors that record data in real time.

However, the affected speed limiter companies said they were being unfairly targeted over a problem caused by tamper-prone PSV operators.

The new limiters are also supposed to record any attempt to tamper with them. The records are downloaded when a vehicle goes for yearly inspection.