General Motors East Africa has presented buses worth an estimated KES.9.7Million to various matatu Saccos in a move aimed at partnering with transport sector players to enhance formalization. The groundbreaking move, aimed at enabling the Saccos to phase out 14 seater matatus is the first ever of its kind and comes hot on the heels on a similar initiative last year that saw General Motors East Africa hand over 11 buses to Saccos and individuals last year.
Under the initiative, saccos under the Matatu Owners Association in Migori and Murang’a counties will each receive an Isuzu NQR 33 cruiser bus worth 4.85 million each for a six month period through a demo program to assist them learn the big bus business as they grow county transport away from 14 seater matatus.
President Uhuru Kenyatta who officially flagged off the vehicles lauded the partnership, terming it a clear case of a public private partnership that was destined to become industry best practice. The government has put in place a policy that will enhance formalization of transport sector in Kenya and ultimately lead to the phasing out of the low capacity public transport, which has been blamed for congestion, lack of efficiency and for being expensive.
General Motors East Africa Ltd (GMEA) was founded in 1975 as a joint venture between the Government of Kenya and General Motors Company. GMEA started assembling vehicles in 1977 and is the largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in the East African region.
Speaking while making the presentation of the vehicles at the 2015 East Africa Transport Conference, General Motors East Africa Managing Director Rita Kavashe said that this being the second batch of vehicles to be presented to Saccos and operators, the impact on the industry was expected to be bigger.
“Last year we presented 11 vehicles worth KES.53.35Million, all of which are well on the way to being paid up. We can see a clear impact on the operator’s bottom line and are happy to scale up the project.” She added.
General Motors East Africa hopes to create a positive impact by partnering with operators who intend to scale up but would not have been able to do so otherwise due to cost constraints.