The matatu mode of public transportation in the municipality of Kisumu, Kenya
Awino, Joel Oluoch
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This study has examined the nature of urban public transport in the MoK as it relates to matatu transport in the (MoK). It begins by describing the growth and origin of the MoK's public transport system by illustrating how the present role and prospects of public transport system shaped by the mobility and growth in urban population, territorial expansions and the institutional policy structures. Urban transport plays a vital role in the economy of Kenya particularly in the major urban centres which generate a major share of the gross domestic product (GDP). The transport needs of urban workers are most acute in these centres amongst which is the MoK, t he third largest urban centre in Kenya. Matatus are an intermediate form of transportation. They are also known as para-transits (Fouracre and Maunder, 1979) The para-transits are a prevalent mode of urban public transport not only in the MoK but also in Urban Centres of the Less developed countries (LDCs). The objectives of this study were, to examine the role and future prospects of matatu transport in the MoK, to examine how the operational and organizational characteristics of matatus contribute to the efficiency and reliability of urban transport, to analyze how the private sector provides and controls the matatu transport to achieve urban transport objectives, to examine the nature of employment provided by matatu transport and whether it contributes in solving the problem of urban unemployment and finally, to examine the constraints affecting urban transport in the MoK and suggest some solutions. The study advanced various hypotheses. The first hypothesis was; There is no significant relationship between the number of used and newly acquired vehicles operated as matatus and the number of operators who have acquired credit facilities hence the large number of low quality matatus in the MoK. Secondly, in the employment offered by ma tatus there is no signif icant relationship between the level of education of the operators and their income because the matatu sector like other urban informal sectors is an open one where skill may be more important thap formal education in determining earnings. Thirdly, there is no significant difference between the number of matatus operating to the low income residential zones and those operating to the high income residential zones. The research methodology used in this study employed interviews and questionnaires in the collection of data. Sampling techniques were used to select the respondents for interviews. Qualitative analysis such· as the measures of central tendencies, frequency distribution tables and histograms and, analytical techniques such as the Simple Linear Regression Analysis, the T-statistic and the Chi-square statistic were used in testing the hypotheses of the study. The personal computer (PC) was used in all these procedures. The theoretical framework of this study is based on urban transportation system and the interacting facilities. The model is incoiporated in this study to project and evaluate the level of service of the matatu transport as it relates to the future urban growth and travel demands. The study found out that urban public transport in .the MoK is inefficient and inadequate in the quality and quantity of service offered. The study found out that urban publi~ transportation in the MoK is dominated by the matatus. Matatu transport was found to play a significant role ln meeting urban transport demands. The matatus were found to be profitable to the owners and also offered a wide array of employment to young urban migrants. The private sector was found to play an important role in the provision and control of matatu transport although their primary goal is to make profit. The major problems that plague matatu transport and urban public transport in' general were found to be i rapidly increasing population, inadequate maintenance of roads and vehicles, low quality and quantity of operating fleet, lack of termini due to inadequate land, unlimited competition for road space with non-motorised transport and imprecise policy framework. This study recommends that inorder to improve the quality of urban transport in the MoK, the urban planners should place suitable factors both in the physical and social envirnment such as improvement and regular repair of roads, improvement of road safety through use of traffic control devices, construction of primary access roads to improve access to the low income residential areas and upgrading of matatu termini and stops. The impact of urban transport should be felt in both policy and physical terms.
SponsorhipUniversity of Nairobi
Department of Geography, University of Nairobi