Speaking to kenyagist.com on Wednesday, February 16, Police Spokesperson Bruno Shioso noted that some of the idle passengers end up engaging in crime.
He further explained that those found plotting to commit a crime would be arrested and presented in the court of law with some having been nabbed in Nairobi’s Kamukunji area.
“People who sit in matatus preparing to commit a crime, they must be arrested. If the intention can be proven, through evidence and intelligence that that is what they do, they will be arrested for that. For idling or whatever it is.
“I am sure they have arrested so many (idlers) in places such as Kamukunji (in Nairobi)… That is a legal issue and those are petty offences,” he explained.
The new line of competitive business where the idle individuals are hired by the matatu operators to mislead commuters that the vehicles are almost full has been on the rise recently.
Nairobi routes are the most affected with Machakos Country Bus stage recording the highest number to the chagrin of genuine travellers who might spend hours after boarding matatus.
The ‘squad’, which includes more than four individuals working in cahoot with matatu drivers, are usually paid between Ksh10 and Ksh20 per session.
What worries the police force is that some of the idlers join the ring with ill motives leading to the harassment of other passengers and sometimes muggings.
Matatu Welfare Association chairman Dickson Mbugua, however, defended the matatus engaging in the practice noting that it is not an illegal business.
He further claimed that it was not a common practice and was only a reserve of the long-distance buses which had become rampant during the pandemic period.
â€œThese days, it is not common because matatus no longer compete for passengers. For town services, it is there but in rare cases.
“There is no law barring that and there is no way any law enforcer will start arresting these young men. That is the courtesy of the stage Sacco managers, who want to ensure the young men have something to take home at the end of the day,â€ he told The Standard.