A proposal to have the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) determine fares for Public Service Vehicles (PSV) has been met with resistance from consumer bodies.
Led by the Consumer Federation of Kenya (COFEK) key stakeholders in the transport industry remarked that the proposal is not sustainable over the long term.
Kimilili Member of Parliament Didmus Barasa in a Bill tabled before Parliament proposed the amendment of the NTSA Act to give the body sweeping powers over the transport sector.
“The Cabinet Secretary may in consultations with the Authority make regulations prescribing the maximum and minimum fares payable by the passengers in public service vehicles within the country,” the Bill reads in part.
A Posta Kenya bus parked at their Nairobi offices on November 17, 2023.
COFEK in disagreement with the Kimilili MP argued that the government cannot dictate fares when it does not own a single PSV vehicle.
“While it could be necessary, how realistic is it that such a law can beat the market forces of supply versus demand, especially during Christmas and other peak seasons,” a statement from COFEK read in part.
Instead of deciding the amount of fares to be charged, COFEK proposed that Parliament focus on exploring other ways of taming the ever-increasing fares.
“The government should also address the real causes of high PSV fares namely exorbitant fuel prices and unmotorable roads which occasion high insurance premiums and high wear and tear costs,” the consumer body added.
While the government does not own PSV vehicles, the Postal Corporation of Kenya on Friday announced the launch of long-distance bus services.
The buses which will be managed by the Ministry of ICT will operate on the Nairobi -Kisumu – Busia route.
The buses are expected to bring competition to the private sector and subsequently reduce fares.
Matatu operators and long-distance bus services have argued that rising fare prices are a direct result of the government increasing fuel prices.
A person fueling a vehicle.