In a move set to cushion passengers from the exploitation of public service vehicle (PSV) owners, the government is proposing to control fares charged by all public transporters.
The government, through the Ministry of Transport, has already drafted amendments to the traffic and the National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA) laws.
According to CS Transport James Macharia, the Ministry wants to amend section 119 (1) of the Traffic Act by introducing a new sub-section that will give the Cabinet Secretary powers to prescribe the regulations of public vehicles fares.
For years, Kenyan passengers have been left under the mercy of PSV owners who have powers to set their own fare that has always been favoring their businesses with Kenyans always being on the receiving end.
The reduction in fuel prices, especially diesel, has never been reflected in the fare prices. PSV owners, upon the reduction of fuel prices, either maintain the high fares or even hike, making billions out of Kenyans.
During festive seasons such as the Christmas holidays in December, bus fares in Kenya often move through the roof, with some jumping as high as by 300 percent. In 2018 December, for instance, Kenyans traveling to Bungoma were paying between 2,000 and 3,000 shillings, up from between 600 and 1,200 shillings. Those traveling to Kisumu from Nairobi were parting with between 2,500 and 3,200 shillings from between 800 and 1,200 shillings.
The public transport sector is run by the Traffic Act Cap 403, National Transport and Safety Authority Act No 33 of 2012 and attendant regulations which has no express provision that enables the authority to regulate fares charged by the PSV operators leading to situations where operators exploit passengers at will.