In a bid to streamline public transport, the Government has introduced laws that will ban individuals from directly owning and operating public vehicles.

According to the new proposed Trafic and Road Safety Amendment Act, 2019, public service vehicles will not qualify for a license unless they belong to a company, registered association, partnership or savings and credit co-operative society.

“The minister may, in organizing public transport, require public transport providers to form companies, registered associations, partnerships, co-operatives or savings and credit cooperative societies in a manner prescribed by regulations in order to qualify for a license under this Act,” reads the Bill.

Through regulations, the Bill further empowers the works minister, Monica Ntege Azuba, to set specific requirements for public vehicles to enter the transport sector. According to the amendments, the requirements will depend on management, financial capacity, size and quality of leet.

Once enacted into law, the public transport providers will be required to follow prescribed operational standards and have conditions under which a license may be canceled. The Bill also requires public transport providers to make special provisions for persons with disabilities.

Monica Ntege Azuba

The Bill was tabled in Parliament last week by the works minister and was referred to the committee on physical infrastructure, which, according to the Rules of Procedure, has 45 days within which to report to the plenary.

Azuba told the legislators that the amendments are intended to address the gaps that have been identified in the Trafic and Road Safety Act that was enacted in 1998.

“In the course of operationalization, a number of technical hitches and deficiencies have been encountered, making it difficult to ensure its full operationalization due to unforeseen omissions and inadequacies,” she said.

Reforms

Azuba noted that some of the defects in the existing law that need to be addressed include lack of definition for careless and dangerous driving, ambiguity on drunk driving, the requirement for physical possession of original driving permits and absence of provisions that call for annual vehicle inspection.

Other reforms include laws to address third party rights in motor vehicles, regrouping of motor vehicles licensing and regulating companies using online digital platforms for the provision of passenger and goods transport services, punitive penalties for causing bodily injury through reckless driving, among others.

Conditions set

For one to exit the public transport business, the Bill proposes a six-month notice and if not done, the Bill proposes an increment in the fine from sh600,000 to sh6m.

In Kenya, the government requires that all Passenger Service Vans must belong to a SACCOS in order to be licensed to operate.

When the vehicle is ready with the body and everything else installed, the owner identifies a number of routes were to operate from, which means one needs to select a SACCOS operating that particular route and pay a fee, depending on the capacity of the vehicle and the SACCOS.