New rules: Transport crisis hits Kenya

Commuters board a personal car along Naivasha Road in Nairobi after public transport vehicles operators stayed away from the roads to protest new traffic laws December 3, 2012. ANTHONY OMUYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

Transport was paralysed in various areas in Kenya Monday as operators of public service vehicles (matatus) made good their threat to stay away from roads to protest the new traffic laws.

The tough new regulations prescribe hefty fines and jail terms for traffic offenders.

In Nairobi, commuters braved the morning drizzle to walk to work following arbitrary fare hikes by the few public service vehicles that were on the road.

Police also dispersed matatu operators who had blocked the Nairobi-Nakuru highway at Gitaru area. The traffic snarl-up had stretched to almost two kilometres.

In Nyeri Town, north of Nairobi, traders and farmers reported incurring losses over the strike.

The three main bus termini in the town remained deserted as matatu operators shied away from the stations.

“Since last Friday, our businesses have been affected, we have no customers because most of our customers are those in the matatu industry,” said Ms Anne Wanjiru, a trader at Nyeri- Nyahururu bus terminus.

Ms Wanjiru said that they had been forced to throw away some of their perishable commodities.

Traders in the town have opted to close their business premises until the strike is called off.

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