School children in Nairobi will in the coming days travel to and from school hustle-free and at no cost.
This is after Governor Johnson Sakaja struck a deal with over 450 matatu SACCOs to transport any uniformed child to school or back home free of charge.
“When I was growing up in this city, we cared for each other. Watoi walikuwa hawalipi kwa mathree, bora umevaa uniform unasimama hapo mbele ya miguu ya watu unabebwa unaenda shule (Children never used to pay bus fare, so long as you were in uniform you stood in front of passengers and you got to school),” he said.
The governor was speaking on Friday during a stakeholder meeting with Matatu Owners Association.
He said there was no reason why the operators would want to charge school children bus fare and challenged them to do so free of charge for all primary school children.
“Are you willing?” Sakaja asked to a unison reply of “yes” from the operators.
Sakaja said what remains now is to work out the logistics with the 450 SACCOs and the police of how the program will be implemented.
“Will work out the logistics with National Police Service as this would be quite a noble thing to do for our kids,” Sakaja said.
He said the operators will not be charged for carrying excess passengers because of the school children.
“I caution you to be responsible. Do not abuse this directive to carry excess passengers lest you find yourself in trouble with the traffic police. As the county government, we will involve them to ensure that they do not arrest matatus carrying students,” he added.
“Mungu ni mkubwa, wacha sasa mimi nideal na police but don’t use it as an excuse to carry excess people,” the governor said.
“Because these are short distances, tuwasaidie, hiyo ni utu and God will bless you for that (let’s help them, that’s humanity)”
Sakaja said through this generous gesture, the matatu industry can play an integral role in strengthening family unity by ensuring children travel far to study and return to their parents.
“Some schools are far, hiyo 50 bob ama 20 bob ya fare wengine hawana.”
While announcing the operation, Sakaja lamented that unlicensed vehicles, including Noah, Voxy, Sientas and Tuktuks, among others, were operating in the CBD without conforming with city laws.
“I don’t want to see those small vehicles operating as PSVs in the CBD, they should be removed immediately.“
“If we allow such (the vehicles operating in CBD) to continue, it will lead to anarchy,” Sakaja stated.