President Uhuru Kenyatta has told public transport players in the country that their jobs are not under threat, following the start of the standard gauge railway (SGR) operations.
President Kenyatta said SGR will instead create more opportunities for matatu and boda boda operators as he directed the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure to put up a matatu terminus at every SGR station to facilitate ease of transportation.
“The public transport sector plays a key role in our economy and we will always work to facilitate its operations,” he said.
On Wednesday, the President commissioned the SGR passenger service, dubbed “Madaraka Express”, from Mombasa to Nairobi, fulfilling one of his key promises.
For buses, President Kenyatta said his administration is constructing roads across the country and opening up areas where the buses can operate.
“For example, there were only three buses plying the north eastern route but today we have over 30 because we have improved the roads.
“It also used to take up to three days to travel to the region but now it only takes hours,” the President said.
The Head of State spoke at State House, Nakuru, where he met over 1,000 nationwide representatives of matatu and boda boda operators.
President Kenyatta asked the operators to take advantage of the opportunities being created in the sector, citing the example of the Government’s ‘Build Operate Transfer’ initiative as one area where they could invest in.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Matatu Owners Association Chairman Simon Kimutai declared their support for President Kenyatta’s re-election.
“We thank you for the reforms you have initiated in the public transport sector that have enabled us to operate with ease and to provide effective services.
“And we say with one voice as matatu and boda boda operators that the Presidential candidate of our choice is Uhuru Kenyatta,” Mr Kimutai said.
Mr Kimutai said the Jubilee administration’s development record, such as digitisation of the sector, has made their work easier.
President Kenyatta said his administration will continue working with all stakeholders in providing quality services.
He directed Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, who was present, and his counterpart from the National Treasury to streamline taxation so that operators can buy vehicles at lower prices, which will reduce fares.
The meeting was also attended by Deputy President William Ruto.