Nairobi — Fare hikes orchestrated by public transport operators may soon become a thing of the past, thanks to a groundbreaking bill designed to regulate commuter fares that is currently under consideration by the National Assembly.
The National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA) Amendment Bill, spearheaded by Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa, seeks to establish a new section specifically dedicated to the creation of policy guidelines for the regulation of passenger fares within Kenya’s public service vehicles.
The Bill delineates that the Cabinet Secretary, working in conjunction with the NTSA, will be empowered to formulate regulations that prescribe both the maximum and minimum fares payable by passengers in public service vehicles. Furthermore, the bill lays out mechanisms for the periodic review of fares in public service motor vehicles.
Following its formal introduction in the House, the NTSA Amendment Bill for 2023 has now been referred to the National Assembly Committee on Transport for further consideration.
The proposed legislation represents a significant stride towards improving the consistency and dependability of fare structures within Kenya’s public transport system. Commuters throughout the nation have long contended with sporadic and unregulated fare hikes, which often impose an undue financial burden on their daily travels.
Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa, the bill’s sponsor, underscored the importance of a systematic approach to fare regulation, stating, “This bill seeks to address a longstanding issue that has plagued our public transport system. We need clear guidelines and regulations to ensure that commuters are not subjected to arbitrary fare increases. It’s about making transportation more predictable and equitable.”
The introduction of standardized fare regulations stands to benefit not only passengers but also offers much-needed clarity to public transport operators. The proposal acknowledges that reasonable fare structures can engender greater confidence and trust within the industry.
As per the bill’s provisions, the Cabinet Secretary will work closely with the National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA) to construct the regulatory framework. This framework will aim to strike a balance between maintaining affordable fares for passengers and ensuring a sustainable operating environment for transport providers.
If the bill garners approval, it could mark a significant turning point for Kenya’s public transport sector, bringing it more in line with international standards for fare regulation and passenger protection. By establishing a transparent system for setting fares and regularly reviewing them, the bill aims to create a more equitable and stable public transport system.
The National Assembly Committee on Transport will now play a crucial role in scrutinizing the proposed legislation and gathering input from various stakeholders, including transport associations, commuter advocacy groups, and government agencies.
As Kenya’s lawmakers deliberate on the bill’s merits, the public eagerly awaits a solution to the longstanding issue of erratic fare hikes, one that could pave the way for a more predictable and affordable commuting experience.