The matatu strike is off, Matatu Transport Vehicles Association Secretary-General Richard Kanoru has announced, just hours after the official start of the crackdown for the enforcement of Michuki rules. Mr Kanoru said on Monday that that operations will be smooth on Tuesday. His announcement followed a meeting between matatu operators and officials of the Interior ministry.
The official said all operators have agreed to adhere to Traffic Act, 2013. “We will follow all the rules,” he told the Nation. He added, “Matatus that have a capacity of 26 passengers and less will have be painted with the continuous yellow line. We had to make sure there will be no harassment on the roads.” Matatu Owners Association chairman Simon Kimutai confirmed the end of the strike, saying the meeting also addressed the concerns of passenger service vehicle operators. “We agreed that they should all return their vehicles to the roads and comply with the Traffic Act. These things have been there. It is just a matter of following the rules,” he said.
The strike was called off after the official start of the road safety operation, a move which saw matatu operators vow to stay off the roads. Authorities, however, also stayed put, saying they will sustain round-the-clock operations for the sake of road safety. About 2,000 drivers, conductors and passengers were arrested for different offences, police inspector general Joseph Boinnet said.
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The road safety measures followed many cases of fatal crashes, among them the Fort Ternan crash in Kericho County, that claimed 58 lives on Moi Day. They also came just before the festive season – in December last year, at least 330 people died in road accidents in different parts of the country, notable among them being Salgaa in Nakuru County. As police stayed alert on the roads on Monday, commuters were left stranded and opting for personal vehicles, taxis and boda-bodas. Fares were doubled so others chose to walk to their destinations.