Kenya's Matatus are happy about the planned hike in train fare hoping it will commuters back to the bumpy roads
Matatu Owners Association Chairperson Simon Kimutai welcomed the move, likely to hurt poor Kenyans terming it a win-win situation for all.
He said Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) had no option but to adjust the prices upwards on the inter-county train service.
This is in relations to Kenya Railway’s last week announcement where it said it will be increasing its economy fares from Sh700 ($7) to Sh1200 ($12) beginning April 1st.
The move which has since been opposed by Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek) is likely to lead commuters back to the bumpy rides of buses and Matatus.
Since the launch the standard gauge rail on May 31 by President Uhuru, Kenyans have been trickling in large numbers to Kenya railways stations to board the Madaraka express, leaving bus owners high and dry counting huge losses.
Charging only $7 for an economy class ticket and the ride only taking 4:30 hours the offer was irresistible to millions of commuters who until then had to part with as much as Sh1500 and endure up to nine hours on the road.
The introduction of the inter-county service trains which slashed fares to as low as Sh50 from Mombasa to Mariakani, a distance of 33.5 km further dented matatu fortunes.
The same distance via matatu costs a minimum of Sh100
On first class, passenger have been paying Sh140 from Mombasa to Mariakani, Sh920 from Voi to Kibwezi to quote but just a few.
“They have been offering introductory rates and we knew that, in a matter of time, the rates would increase. This is a good move,” Matatu Welfare Association chairman Dickson Mbugua said, adding that the new rates will result in a level playing field on the route.
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