Commuters should brace themselves for tougher times ahead as matatu operators have announced that they will hike their fares starting Thursday morning. 

The painful news was announced by the chairman of the Association of Matatu Operators Jamal Marlow alias Roho Safi through his Twitter account on Wednesday afternoon.

“From tomorrow we will hike our fare due to fuel hike. Kindly bear with us,” Jamal tweeted.

The hike in commuter fares was expected as the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) revised the fuel pump prices upwards in their recent review announced on Tuesday evening.

According to a top official of matatu SACCOs and PSVs, Branden Marshall, the matatu operators are all in agreement with their chairman’s notice.

Marshall said matatus may have to do away with the off-peak fare rates to survive increased fuel prices.

He also said they need to generate income for all the people working in the multi-bilion shilling industry.

"Matatus cannot just be working on fuel alone, we must survive. To cushion the industry and also for us to survive, most SACCOs are planning to scrap off-peak hours in our schedules," said Marshall.

He added that the government had done little to help the matatu industry that has been struggling to get back on its feet following the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The pandemic really hurt our industry. We have been crawling and the government is not doing anything to save us but instead making it even worse," he added.

The government had restricted matatus to only carrying half the normal capacity as one of the Covid-19 containment measures but this was lifted last month with the government urging matatu operators to observe all measures even as they resume full capacity.

The maximum allowed petroleum pump prices in Nairobi in the new prices announced by EPRA on Tuesday has increased by Sh7.58 a litre for Super Petrol, Sh7.94 per litre for Diesel and Sh12.97 per litre for Kerosene. 

The increment has seen Super Petrol retail at Sh134.72, Diesel will retail at Sh115.60 and Kerosene will retail at 110.82 in Nairobi.

The increase in fuel prices will also see the cost of living shoot up with a majority of Kenyans who rely on public transport and kerosene for cooking set to feel the pinch for the next month and probably beyond.