Mombasa County Commissioner Abdirisack Jaldesa in partnership with TukTuk operators has initiated a countywide registration of owners and drivers of TukTuk in a bid to streamline the sector.
The move, the County Commissioner said, is aimed to weed out criminals following complaints from passengers robbed by thieves disguising as TukTuk drivers.
The three-wheeled motor vehicles are a popular mode of transport in Mombasa, previous attempts by the County Government to regulate the sector through a 2018 by-law faced resistance from TukTuk operators.
Speaking at a stakeholder’s forum that brought together the government, drivers, and owners of TukTuks the County Commissioner said they have agreed with TukTuk players for a one-month epoch for them to be registered from the stage, Sub-County, and County levels.
“The aim of registering them is because criminals are masquerading as TukTuk operators. TukTuks are almost 17,000. It’s a huge number,” said Jaldesa.
He added that failure to regularize the sector will be a time bomb and “Criminals may infiltrate the sector, we have got complaints from the public.”
The CC further advised TukTuk owners to use the NTSA self-service application to verify the personal details of the drivers they employ.
“All stakeholders have come on board in order to streamline Tuk Tuk operations to help the public, promote peace and also improve the transport sector in our county. It’s a big sector that we cannot ignore, there’s a need to streamline it,” said the CC.
The multi-sectoral meetings the County Commissioner said will be cascaded in all the six Sub-Counties up to the stage level to pass the registration drive information to all operators.
The operators will also be sensitized to acquire driving licenses for TukTuks as it emerges most of them lack valid licenses.
“There are those who have driving licenses for motor vehicles not for TukTuk, NTSA will intervene. Those with valid licenses will be registered, and those who don’t will be trained and issued licenses, he said
Chairman of Mombasa Tuk Tuk Operators Organization Benjamin Ochwango said working closely with the government and the registration will bring sanity to the sector.
“Those who will refuse will have a hidden agenda. The exercise will improve the safety of the driver and passengers. We will be able to weed out criminals who are destroying the sector,” he said.
Warui Ndirangu, a pioneer TukTuk owner decried that the sector is no longer a profitable venture because of the challenges in the road, theft, and vandalism of Tuk Tuks.
To address the challenges, Ndirangu said owners and drivers must be known for the sector to thrive and for the government to get information. He urged fellow owners to embrace the registration initiative.
Tsuma Salim, a TukTuk driver said the sector has been tainted by criminals who are untrained and it is high time for them to ship out and look for other jobs to do.