Meru County Assembly shelves public transport bill

Meru Members of the County Assembly have suspended debates on public transport and traffic management bills citing thorny issues, which should be resolved before it is tabled before the Assembly.

The Meru County Public Transport and Traffic Management Bill, 2020 seeks to regulate the matatu, taxi and boda boda services besides providing for various levies.

It provides for establishment of a transport directorate, registration of transport Saccos as well as establishment of County traffic marshals.

The original bill proposes that boda boda riders should belong to a Sacco of at least 100 members, operate within one route only and riders of the same Sacco wear the same color of reflective jackets.

The MCAs were to debate amendments to the bill including on requirements of boda boda operators’ Saccos, as well as charges for quarry and mineral products.

The bill had drawn keen interest from boda boda riders who flocked the public gallery to monitor its debate.

Mwanganthia MCA Julius Mbijiwe was particularly concerned by an amendment introducing some levies, where charges ranging between Sh300 to Sh1,000 on transportation of soil have been proposed.

However, when the debate went to the committee of the whole house, Mbijiwe protested that they did not have time to study the amendments.

Mbijiwe noted that the committee had received the bill a bit late hence did have time to study and scrutinize it.

He pointed out that the committee cannot risk passing a bill without studying it carefully hence adequate time is needed to study issues raised.

Athwana MCA Victor Karithi, who is also the Majority leader said there was need to study the document since it touched on a critical boda boda sector.

Karithi noted that introduction of new charges to the boda boda sector will hurt them.

He said the transport sector is already suffering from the impact of Covid 19 and high fuel costs, hence adequate consultation is necessary.

He said any laws touching on the transport sector should be done humanely to avert backlash.

Nkuene MCA Martin Makasi said there was need for caution especially now that the campaigns were approaching the peak.

“If we pass a faulty bill now, it will be used against us by our rivals. The boda boda riders will be on our case,” he said.

James Mugambi chairman Mutethia boda boda riders’ association noted that many riders are struggling to stay in business due to hard economic times.

He said the business has gone down for the last few months as few clients seek the services of boda boda.

“We will protest additional levies, we are making very little money and we have families to cater for,” he said.

Meru County has been having challenges in regulating the taxi and boda boda businesses, with taxis operating in disregard of traffic rules, while boda boda operators have failed to pay taxes.



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