Matatu operators in Kitui Town are lamenting over the heavy losses they are suffering as a result of the coronavirus epidemic.
Speaking to reporters, they expressed their concern about the rising operational costs as the number of travellers has drastically reduced.
“Now, it is taking us up to five hours to fill a 14-seater matatu. Passengers become impatient and ask for their money back and we end up with nothing,” said one of the operators, Ambrose Ndambuki.
Many Kenyans, he said, were not travelling, having heeded calls to stay at home. They had been forced to sometimes increase fares by up to Ksh100, and were worried that they might have to stop operations.
The matatu operators called upon the government to come to their rescue to enable them to stay afloat.
With their operations seriously reduced, the operators said they were unable to provide water and soap to people to wash their hands before boarding their vehicles, as required by the safety guidelines.
Meanwhile, Kibwezi East MP Jessica Mbalu has asked the government to give financial assistance to the matatu operators to enable them to meet some of their costs.