Murang’a residents decry paying more to travel as matatu operators have increased fares to various destinations by between 25 to 50 per cent.
Fares to most destinations have been adjusted after matatu operators nationwide agreed to review the current rates citing the continuous hike in fuel prices.
With the new prices, passengers travelling to and from Nairobi now pay Ksh 250 up from Ksh 200 because stakeholders in the matatu industry claim the high fuel prices were eating into their profits.
One of the matatu Sacco managers in Murang’a Ramadhan Swalleh says that they have no option but to adjust the fares because theirs is a business too.
“We have tried to avoid changing our prices for as long as possible but now we don’t have a choice. In April 2021, we used to buy a litre of diesel at Sh107 and now a litre retails at Sh125,” Swalleh remarked.
He also stated that as a Sacco they have to protect the interests of investors who have entrusted them with their vehicles by raising the fare in order to keep the vehicles profitable.
“Recently, even buying spare parts for the vehicles is costly because every part including the vehicle tires has increased in price,” Swalleh said adding that inflation was affecting all sectors of the economy.
Susan Njeri, a matatu attendant at the Murang’a stage, claims she has no option but to charge more as she has been authorized by the management.
“I have received orders to charge more than before so that by the end of the day, we do not make losses after which I receive my pay and the vehicle owner also gets his share,” Njeri said.
Joseph Kimani, one of the matatu owners, also emphasized that it is not their wish to hike the prices and blamed the hike on the high fuel prices. “If the prices of fuel go down, we will definitely review the prices,” she said.
Eunice Nyokabi, a businesswoman, complained of the high cost she now incurs during the transportation of her goods to the market which she, in turn, has to recover by adjusting the prices of her goods in order to make a profit.
“The cost of transportation of goods from the farms to the market has become almost twice as much and hence the returns by the end of the sale are lower,” she said.
Nyokabi urged the government to cushion Kenyans from the already high cost of living by checking fuel prices.