Matatu Operators Shoot Up Fares Amidst Road Closure

Passengers were forced to part with a range of Ksh200 to Ksh300, which is more than the usual fare of between Ksh50 and Ksh100

Matatu Operators Shoot Up Fares Amidst Road Closure

Nairobi residents who ply Waiyaki Way on Monday morning, June 28 were forced to pay three times their usual fare that was hiked by matatu touts amidst a series of road closures.

Passengers were forced to part with a range of Ksh200 to Ksh300, which is more than the usual fare of between Ksh50 and Ksh100

The ongoing construction of the Nairobi Expressway as well as the expansion of Waiyaki Way have resulted to traffic jams that last for as long as 2 hours daily.

The ramp from Waiyaki Way in Forest Road was closed from Monday, June 28 to Sunday, August 1, a period of 34 days. Whereas, the Capital Centre access along Mombasa Road was closed from Monday, June 28 to Saturday, July 17, a period of 20 days.

The Nairobi Expressway under construction. /FILE

Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) had alerted residents on Saturday, June 26 that the roads would be closed to facilitate the construction of the expressway.

Touts had claimed that the rainy weather experienced in the morning was as a result of the hike in fares, but residents claimed that they were delaying travel to their destinations on purpose.

To make matters worse, several PSV operators had declined to accept mobile money transactions, with claims by the touts that they would reverse the money.

"Those paying via mobile money should alight, or top up the withdrawal fee," ordered the touts, which further fueled the commuters' angry reactions.

The touts had got rid of the commuters, leaving them stranded midway through their journey. Some took the risk of walking on foot from Kangemi to Westlands, others went beyond that point owing to the traffic jam along the ABC roundabout.

A resident however told Viral Tea that the hike in fares only affected a section of matatu operators. He was also forced to pay Ksh200 for his journey from Nairobi CBD.

The authority has been temporarily closing sections of Uhuru Highway, Waiyaki Way and Mombasa Road as contractors race against time to complete the Ksh62 billion, 27.1 kilometre highway by early 2022.

The project was estimated to be done by early 2021, which would have been months ahead of its December 2020 deadline. However the expansion of Waiyaki Way has led to the project suffering a chain of delays.

Transport CS James Macharia had called upon China Wu Yi firm to complete the construction of the project in due time. 

The expressway runs from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) all the way to James Gichuru road and the project also involves the expansion of the 25km James Gichuru-Rironi Road stretch along Waiyaki Way into a superhighway.

The Westlands-Red Hill link Road. /CITIZEN DIGITAL