Nairobi – National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) on Wednesday revoked licences issued to city operators that allowed them to carry passengers travelling upcountry over Christmas and New Year holidays.
NTSA Director-General Francis Meja while confirming the decision, said issuance of temporary TLB licences is suspended until a review is done.
“We have suspended (the licences) because we have realised some of these operators are really misusing these short terms because ideally they are supposed to be for vehicles that are on hire. But we have realised those using them are using them for fare-paying passengers which ought not to be the case.
“So we have decided we need to review that situation to see what controls are lacking,” he said.
The decision was made following two fatal crashes in Kericho and Machakos in which six people died and involved PSVs whose operators had taken advantage of the temporary licenses to operate outside the normal routes.
Mr Meja added: “More importantly and looking at the latest two incidents, they involve vehicles using the short-term licenses to ply routes that are not designated for their use.
“And because of lack of familiarity with the specific routes, you have seen accidents that would possibly have been prevented.”
The Transport Licensing Board began issuing temporary licences during festive periods to ease demand for public transport, especially for Kenyans travelling upcountry and other holiday destinations.
City matatu firms are the main beneficiaries of the temporary TLB licences.
For instance, in the Kericho accident, which happened on December 26 involved a Githurai Sacco bus.
Consequently, police commanders across the country were directed to impound such vehicles if found to be carrying passengers.
The drivers would also be arrested and charged.
More than 2,778 people died on Kenyan roads between January and December 20, including 214 who perished in the past four weeks alone.
The latest NTSA statistics also show at 1,025, pedestrians form the bulk of the people killed.
The figures do not include fatalities reported after December 20.
Other people who died in road crashes are 705 passengers, 213 pillion passengers, 56 pedal cyclists, and 477 motorcyclists.
Over 7,000 other people survived the accidents with injuries.
Official NTSA and police reports further show Kenyan roads are awash with black spots.
Together with Kenya National Highways Authority, the agencies identified dangerous road stretches where crashes were likely to occur and warned motorists to be careful especially during the festive season.
They are Salgaa, Sachangwan, Migaa and Soysambu in Nakuru County.
The other black spot is at Bonje area in Kilifi county.In Taita Taveta County, Manyani is the area to watch when on the road.
Lukenya and Maanzoni in Machakos County are also classified as black spots.
Others are Kiima Kiu/Salama and Konza (Makueni County), Ntulele and Duka Moja Market centre (Narok County) as well as Kenol to Sagana and Kenol to Muranga sections in Muranga and Kirinyaga counties.