The Kenyan government has approved the Matatu sector’s proposal to allow public service vehicles to run with full seating capacity beginning Monday.
Currently, a 14-seater matatu carries 10 passengers, up from eight while a 33-seater bus allows 18 passengers including the driver and crew in view of the outbreak of coronavirus.
On Friday, Transport Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Chris Obure said the matatu industry had agreed to self-regulate in Covid-19 compliance.
“We need to build confidence that we can allow for full capacity while at the same time ensuring continued protection against the spread of rapidly mutating variants of Covid-19,’’ Obure said.
“To mitigate the challenges, jointly with the industry, we reviewed the existing protocols in March this year as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta during the 4th Presidential address on Coronavirus pandemic on March 12, 2021.
This review introduced new measures that were to allow for full capacity but we have not been able to implement the revised protocol because the infection rates have remained high,” he said.
The development comes amid Kenya witnessing a resurgence in COVID-19 cases in the last few weeks.
As per the Ministry of Health Data on Sunday, 800 people tested positive for COVID-19 with a positivity rate of 12.3 per cent.
Total confirmed infections surged to 211,828 and cumulative tests so far conducted are 2,190,806.
What Passengers will expect
- Passengers will have to follow Covid-19 protocols which include:
- All passengers must wear masks and are to be screened for body temperature using a contact-free thermometer.
- No passenger is allowed to board if their body temperature is above 37.5 degrees Celsius and has other signs of Covid-19, including cough or shortness of breath.
“Where a passenger’s body temperature will be found to be 37.5°C or higher, checks will be repeated at least once for confirmation purposes,” said Mr Edwin Mukabanah, Chairman, Association of Bus Operators – Kenya and Chairman Federation of Public Transport Sector Association.
- Matatu crew will have to use three-ply surgical masks.
- Hawking, preaching or begging is prohibited
- Matatu owners to ensure the vehicles are fumigated after every trip.