Bus manufacturers feel Standard Gauge Railway impact

From left is Phylis Wakiaga the Chief Executive Kenya Association of Manufacturers(KAM), National Transport and Safety Authority Chairman(NTSA)Francis Meja and Charles Ongwae the Managing Director Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) together officially launch the new passenger vehicle that meets body construction standards KS372:2014 at Harnam Singh workshop in Nairobi on 04/07/2017. PHOTO BY PIUS CHERUIYOT

Just a month after the launch of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), bus manufacturers have complained about the loss of business.

The Kenya Association of Bus Manufacturers (KABM) said yesterday the demand for public service vehicles had gone down since the Madaraka Express began operating.

“We are now playing a wait and see game. We did not know exactly what to expect when the rail became operational,” said KABM’s Pal Choda.

He spoke when National Transport and Safety Authority and Kenya Bureau of Standards unveiled new standards for bus manufacturers.

Uncertain future

The new standards aim is to weed out rogue manufacturers, especially of PSVs, by emphasising passenger safety and comfort.

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“The standards are mandatory and every PSV body builder must comply. As the standards body, we shall ensure that no bus is imported in the country without complying with the standards,” said Kebs Managing Director Charles Ongwae (pictured).

Welcoming the new standards, KABM said it faced an uncertain future in the wake of the SGR.

“Currently, there is almost no business going on in our parent company, yet we have 200 workers,” said Ricky Choda who heads Choda Fabricators that specialises in PSVs. [Graham Kajilwa] 

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