In response to the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority's (EPRA) announcement of significantly higher petroleum product prices on Thursday night, the Kenya Matatu Owners Association has declared that commuters should expect a corresponding increase in matatu fares.

This move is aimed at offsetting the losses incurred by matatu operators due to the surge in petroleum and diesel prices.

Highlighting the urgency of the situation, Brendan Marshall, a traffic coordinator, and senior member of the Matatu Owners Association (MOA), emphasized that these new prices would come into effect immediately.

Marshal made a disturbing claim alleging that some petrol stations had engaged in questionable practices such as hoarding fuel to sell at higher profits.

"From today, since the fuel prices came into effect at midnight, we did a spot-check and found that some petrol stations were hoarding fuel at around 9:00 p.m. yesterday so that they adjust new prices, so we cannot give a grace period," he said.

In response to these exorbitant fuel price hikes, the Kenya Matatu Owners Association has declared that commuters should expect a corresponding increase in matatu fares.

"For instance, a matatu that initially charged Sh100 during peak hours will now charge between Sh120 or Sh150. We will also extend the peak hours, which previously lasted from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., and will now run up to 10:00 a.m.," explained Marshall.

"In the evening, the peak hours will begin an hour earlier and start at 4:00 p.m., lasting until 7:00 p.m. During this time, the fare will cost around Sh150. After 7:00 p.m., the fare will remain a constant Sh100."

Marshall further explained that during off-peak hours, fares will rise by Sh30 to Sh50. This means that if a matatu was charging Sh50, it would now charge Sh70 or Sh80.

The Matatu Owners Association underscored that the fare increase is essential to safeguard their businesses from the adverse effects of the fuel price surge.

"This will cause a rift between us and our workers because, at the end of the day, targets need to be met. Most of the time, the cars are purchased on loans so the banks expect their cut, the owners expect their cut as well, so it's high time we hike the prices," he said.

"At the end of the month, we have to pay insurance premiums, city council averaging Sh7,000, traffic officers also expect their cut, so this is a dire situation that needs to be addressed."

As Kenyan citizens grapple with the rising cost of living, the increase in matatu fares adds another layer of financial strain.

With fuel prices soaring to unprecedented heights, many are left hoping for relief in the form of government intervention or alternative solutions to mitigate the economic challenges facing the nation.

The latest monthly price review by EPRA reveals a staggering increase, with Super Petrol poised to surge by Sh16.96 per litre, Diesel climbing by Sh21.32 per litre, and Kerosene witnessing an unprecedented hike of Sh33.13 per litre.

These new maximum retail prices came into effect from Friday midnight and will remain in force for the next month, ending on October 14, 2023.