Nairobi County government has frozen approval of new matatu saccos to operate in the city centre in a move aimed at decongesting the capital city.
The county government wrote to the National Transport Safety and Authority (NTSA) last week requesting it not to authorize or issue licenses for any new saccos intending to have Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) to operate within the Central Business District.
Nairobi County acting Roads and Transport chief officer Frederick Karanja explained that the move to freeze the issuance of licenses to and registration for operation of more PSV saccos in the city centre is aimed regulating the number of matatu saccos in the city.
“Due to the current congestion in the city centre, the Governor Mike Sonko initiated the process of decongesting the CBD and therefore approving more PSV saccos will inhibit the decongestion process,” said Engineer Karanja while appearing before Nairobi County Assembly Transport committee on Wednesday.
The chief officer also said that the county plans to remove long distance saccos from operating within the CBD and create termini in the outskirts of the city to allow only saccos within Nairobi to access the CBD.
Mr Karanja said that currently, 138 PSV saccos have been allocated termini in the CBD which is already a high number for the city centre.
“NTSA requirement is for a sacco to exist legally it should have the requisite number of 30 vehicles. As of now we already have more than enough saccos and adding new ones will create more menace in the CBD,” he said.
This comes after the committee, led by MCA James Mwangi, raised concerns of the number of new saccos in the CBD which he said end up double parking and disrupting traffic flow in the city.
Matatus in the city centre have perennially been blamed for blocking business premises, causing traffic snarl ups, blocking of loading zones and noise pollution.
The committee also took note of the proliferation of small saccos which break away whenever there are wrangles within the their parent saccos. They in turn allocate themselves stages on the streets leading to more congestion.
“To consolidate the number of PSV saccos in the city centre, we should come up with laws which will prohibit the formation of many clandestine saccos. This will also act as a way to enforce discipline within the saccos,” said Mr Mwangi.
On his part, City Hall’s director of Parking Mr Tom Tinega told the committee that he had revoked all the stages allocated to saccos who double park on the roads.
“There are a number of some new saccos were allocating themselves spaces in the CBD which is illegal and causes double parking,” said Mr Tinega.
Cartels operating in the matatu industry have been blamed for causing congestion in the city centre due to double parking.
This was after it emerged in March this year that there some two cartels operating within the CBD using Governor Sonko’s name to extort new saccos in order to allocate them parking slots.
The Transport committee said there are individuals brokering between the matatu owners and the county to extort matatu operators with the same individuals having also allocated parking to private cars especially the taxis in slots to operate as PSVs.(source/ NairobiNews)