Transport was slow Wednesday morning in the city as a number of Nairobians chose to stay away from work due to an anticipated Matatu strike.
Most roads to the city reported a low number of matatus and passengers.
Matatu owners had announced a nationwide strike starting Wednesday but later reconsidered their stand after Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen suspended the mandatory retesting of Public Service Vehicles PSV and truck drivers.
However, a spot check showed that most saccos had withdrawn their vehicles from the roads, a move that coincided with the anti-government protests by the Opposition.
Most of the passengers traveling to Nairobi, Embu, Murang’a, and other intra-county areas of Karatina, Othaya, and Tetu were stranded after Matatu operators in Nyeri downed their tools.
In Garissa, hundreds of travelers were stranded after owners protested the new regulation and increased fuel prices.
Salah Abdikadir, a manager for the Planet Coach that plies the Garissa – Nairobi route said that most of their drivers have over 20 years of experience and that they do not need to be retested for them to renew their licenses.
“Just imagine someone who has been driving these buses for 20 years being told that he needs to go back to class for retesting so that he can renew his license. This will be a major problem and we are calling on the government to bring up alternative ways of solving the accidents problem,” Abdikadir said.
“The prices of fuel are also rising every other day making it difficult for business. We have decided that today we ‘down our tools’ so that the government can find a way to stabilize the fuel prices,” he added.
In a statement, Murkomen said the decision to rescind the move was reached after he held a meeting with transport stakeholders on Tuesday.
The two parties according to Murkomen agreed to form a multi-agency committee that will have 14 days to address the issues raised before submitting a report.
On their part, the drivers claimed the new NTSA rules requiring them to undergo a new test for driving is discriminatory.
The fitness of drivers has recently become an issue of concern after it emerged that a majority of them have been failing the re-test.
Additional reporting by Samuel Musita/Photos by KNA