Transport Sector Up In Arms Against County’s New Covid-19 Directives
By Dama Kalama
Transport operators in Mombasa have threatened to paralyse operations in protest to the introduction of a fumigation certificate by the county government as a containment measure against Covid-19.
The players read mischief saying the mandatory requirement to possess the certificate ordered by the county department of health is a ploy to mince money from the already struggling sector.
The county has this week made it mandatory that all PSV vehicles operating within Mombasa should be fumigated at a cost of Sh2,000 for buses, Sh1,500 for minibuses and Sh1,000 for PSV 14-seater vehicles.
Through a notice to the operators signed by Mombasa county public health chief officer Rosemary Oginga, hints that a multi-agency operation will begin cracking down on defaulters beginning Wednesday morning.
Oginga said all PSVs operating in Mombasa must strictly comply with the Covid-19 protocols. There are about 5,000 PSVs operating within the county.
“All vehicles should be fumigated and should have a fumigation certificate. They must have sanitisers, a thermo gun; ensure all stages have hand washing facilities and all passengers and matatu crews are also advised to wear masks properly,” she said in a statement.
However, the operators led by Matatu Owners Association National vice-chairman Ali Salim Barthez wants the directive shelved, as the vehicles undergo daily washing with washing detergents, as part of compliance to Covid-19 regulations.
“The introduction of a fumigation certificate which will enable us to pay for daily fumigation services to the county is punitive, the matatu sector will really be affected, this is a decision that was reached without us being consulted,” he said.
The county has stipulated among others that, PSV’s operating in Mombasa County should be fumigated and should have fumigation certificate, they should have sanitizers, thermoguns, ensure washing facilities on stages as well as all passengers and matatu crews are also advised to wear masks properly.
A spot Check by People Daily at the Mombasa passenger picking points in Mombasa, established that PSV matatus playing the town service had dropped the guard against Covid-19 as many of them had not complied by yesterday.
Matatu conductors were still carrying excess passengers; some of the conductors do not have face masks while there is no sanitization before boarding the town service PSV matatus.
“It’s very difficult to use thermo guns and sanitizers within town service, how will you be able to operate sanitizing a passenger who boards and alights within a 30 meters distance, this is cumbersome,” he said.