The evolution of the matatu business in both urban and rural areas has led to a myriad of challenges that if not resolved will reverse the gains made over the years after the Michuki rules.
The challenges are many and I may not be exhaustive as I seek to offer my opinion in how they can be resolved. Ultimately the goal is for people to be treated with dignity, lives preserved and owners to have a meaningful return while the crew earns a livelihood. To achieve this has proven to be a toll order and often the passengers are the ones who get shortchanged.
Know the crew
I feel that the first step in getting a lasting solution to the menace is for there to be a database of crew for all fleet that operate in the sector. I am talking about a database that can be accessed on a realtime basis by law enforcement and will show among other details the following;
- Details of the matatu
- Driver and conductor information including;
- Name,ID,DL number,Good Conduct information, Images and contacts.
- Sacco registration status
- Owner and Sacco emergency contacts
This kind of consolidated and easy to access information will prove useful in enforcement of the law and taming the ‘squad’ mentality whereby non registered and often non qualified people will operate a matatu and put the lives of tens of people at risk. The system would have modules for sacco fleet management, NTSA licensing and enforcement as well as law enforment offenses tagging. The public cab also lodge complains directly tagged to a specific matatu and this can be viewed and acted on by concerned parties.
Getting tax revenue from Matatu is another challenge that then means that the government looses hundreds of millions monthly that could boost service provision.
Since matatu card based payment systems failed there has to be more thought put into how Matatu operate.
The goal for a start is to get a manageable tax fee calculated based on a matatus capacity. Say for a 14 seated the rate is 30 per day computed quarterly to 2700. Matatu would then have to prepay the tax and get a sticker similar to the insurance stickers for easier enforment. Tuktuks and boda boda would pay 500 and 1000 respectively per year. The gross tax would be in excess of 1 billion annually.
Bodaboda regulation is another ballgame all together. The owners and riders would also need to be known as well. This could be achieved by having a USSD registration into the portal I talked about earlier. By pressing a simple ussd code onto their phones the owners of these motorcycles will be able to provide information including;
- Motor cycle registration number
- Name of rider
- ID of rider
- DL number
To be continued