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Small traders lose while taxis gain on day of matatu ban

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Pedestrians use a footbridge to cross Muranga road at Ngara on December 3, 2018. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG 

Businesses situated at popular matatu stages in the city centre bore the brunt of reduced activity occasioned by a directive disallowing matatus into the Central Business District (CBD) as taxis and boda boda operators enjoyed booming business.

The main arteries feeding the city – Mombasa, Thika, Waiyaki, Lang’ata, Ngong, Jogoo, Landhies, Kiambu and Juja roads – were no-go zones as a traffic gridlock saw most workers walking to work.

A spot check by the Business Daily found that shoe shiners set up at bus stages as well as casual labourers handling menial jobs, newspaper sellers and sweet vendors experienced reduced sales as most workers were forced to alight on the town periphery.

Trolley handler Peter Mariga said they had no work to do as most matatus dropped passengers elsewhere before driving to park their vehicles at Country Bus Station.

“We have trolley operators at the new drop-off points at Ngara, Westlands and Railways Station. We are not welcome anywhere else and are suffering,” he said.

matatu ban

A cart pusher and a pedestrians walk in Nairobi after a ban on matatus accessing the CBD on December 3, 2018. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG

Eateries, mobile phone shops and other businesses located along traditional matatu stages within Nyamakima, along Ronald Ngala street, Tom Mboya, Ambassador, OTC, Latema, Accra and River Road areas among others were mostly idle.

Meanwhile, at the Kencom stage taxis and boda boda operators enjoyed booming business as they capitalised on the disruption to hike charges for ferrying the sick and other Kenyans heading to Kenyatta National Hospital by up to three times.

Commuters leaving town for Upper Hill reported paying motorbike operators Sh200, with those not able to fork out the extra cost being forced to walk to work.

Owners of personal vehicles were also spotted at major stages such as Kencom picking passengers to transport them at a fee.

Kencom

Private cars pick passengers at Kencom bus stage on December 3, 2018. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG

Some commuters at Ngara called on Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko to review the ban allowing matatus into Nairobi up to 9 am and later after 5 pm to allow smooth flow of commuters to and through Nairobi CBD.

Upcountry travellers coming into Nairobi from different corners of the country routes also suffered as they lacked transport to connect to their destinations or into the CBD.

footbridge Ngara

Pedestrians use a footbridge to cross Muranga road at Ngara on December 3, 2018. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG

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