Once known as the cool, sober and focussed town, Eldoret now joins capital city Nairobi in terms of matatu disorder and traffic jams. This has made everyone from all quarters of life to raise their concerns.
The matatus can be seen moving swiftly, parked or hooting loudly and playing loud music along virtually every street. Designated matatu/bus terminus have been abandoned due to their small capacity and also largely due to what many have termed as the matatu insanity that makes the operators to want to occupy ever free space in a busy growing town like Eldoret.
Most business owners are crying foul after their pleas especially to the Uasin Gishu County Government Departments of Trade and that of Transport, Roads and Infrastructure have not yielded much fruit. There are claims that some revenue and enforcement officers from the above departments are allowing the matatu to park anywhere after being bribed. The matatus park even in front businesses along the busy Uganda Road in the evenings. Customers of many business are left with place to park their vehicles while making purchases and loading.
It is not only the business people who are being disadvantaged but also boda boda riders who have to contest for space with the matatus. The matatus have also invaded most of the parking assigned for bodas.
Fellow matatu operators who still operate from the legal terminus are counting losses as passengers have followed the roadside bus/matatus stages.
The most affected routes include the Western Kenya/KPA/Huruma stage which the matatus have resorted to pick and drop their passengers along Uganda Road as far as Petre Shah and Kogo Plaza buildings. Matatus plying the Pioneer – Langas – Kapsabet route have also abandoned their Sossian stage to pack along the road near the Sosiani river bridge. This is posing more danger to other road users especially the private vehicle owners.
Truck drivers along the Uganda Road are also having a hard time applying instant breaks as matatus stop and/or make U-turns just few metres ahead of them.