Lamu, KENYA: Police in Lamu has impounded 31 public transport vehicles in an operation that saw public road transport totally paralyzed.
Hundreds of commuters have been stranded in Lamu as police moved in to crack down on unroadworthy vehicles in the recently reinforced Michuki rules.
Majority of other owners kept their vehicles off the road on Monday so as to avoid being nabbed.
Those impounded include buses, Nissan shuttles, and Probox vehicles.
A total of 22 motorcycles were also impounded.
Over 15 drivers, conductors, and motorcycle operators were also arrested in the crackdown.
Police say the vehicles have failed to observe general traffic rules and adhere to the Michuki rules.
While leading the crackdown, Lamu County Police Commander Muchangi Kioi and County AP Coordinating Commander Charles Mbatu said all the vehicles had failed to meet the required roadworthy standards and as such couldn’t be allowed to operate.
Transport buses and shuttles plying Lamu-Mombasa were abandoned midway as drivers and conductors fled into the bushes to escape being arrested by police leaving passengers stranded with no apparent help.
Many other vehicles remained parked in their yards at the Mokowe jetty in Lamu which the region’s main pickup and drop off point for commuters.
“Not a single vehicle will be allowed back on the road unless they decide to comply with every single traffic directive. We are no longer going to allow vehicles without functional seatbelts, speed governors and the general requirements operate here,” said Kioi.
The two senior police officers also said enough police officers had been deployed to man every single secret route which drivers might try to use so as to escape their dragnet.
“We know of those small routes in the bushes where drivers would rather pass so as not to be arrested. Too bad for them because even those ones are now swarming with police. We must impound all unroadworthy vehicles one way or the other,” said Mbatu.
Angry commuters cursed and harshly hurled insults blaming the police for interrupting their journeys.
“We have paid all the fares and now we cant travel. We don’t know how to claim back our fares since no driver or conductor is in sight. They have all run away and left us on the road. The police should have given time for this new laws to take effect before they began impounding,” said Khadija Athman.