In typical Kenyan fashion of last minute rush, schools are frantically trying to beat a deadline to repaint their vehicles by March 31.
A spot check into many fabricating yards in Nairobi and Kiambu Counties shows folds of school buses and vans packed ready for the new yellow color prescribed by the state.
In one of the fabricating yards in Thika Town, there were more than 8 school buses waiting to get the fabricator’s touch on Friday afternoon.
“We have a lot of work now because these school vehicles are streaming in, in the typical Kenyan fashion of rushing the last minute,” Meshack Kiambati, a bus fabricator said.
He noted that though most of the schools have complied, there’s a sizeable number of some other schools that were waiting for April holidays for them to be fabricated.
“A good number were waiting for the holidays and others were raising money for the services,” he added.
His colleague, Bedan Otieno said the cost of repainting a 62-seater bus goes for between Sh70, 000 to slightly over 100, 000 depending on the quality of the paint.
“A 62-seater bus will take up to 2 weeks for the work to be completed and the others like mini-buses and vans will take a week or less which is also dependent on the weather conditions. The cost depends on how big the vehicle is,” Otieno remarked.
The dash follows an ultimatum issued by former Education Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i who in January, directed that all school buses and vans must be painted yellow in colour.
The CS said he was implementing a directive stipulated in the 2017 Traffic Amendment Act.
The Traffic Act, in addition, stipulates that the buses and vans will have bold inscriptions of the name of the school in black and will observe a speed limit of 50Km/h.
The school buses and vans are also required to be fitted with safety belts and should operate between 6am and 6pm.
The Ministry of Education had set aside funds for all public schools to facilitate the repainting of school buses and vans.
However, for private schools, implementing the directive has been a tall order since they personally have to fund the repainting of their vehicles.
Through the CEO Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA) Peter Ndoro, they have asked for an extension from the government.
“About 60 per cent of school buses have been painted yellow but then, those that have not been painted, it’s just because of issues of transport. We cannot withdraw these buses from schools so that we can have them repainted,” he said in an interview with Citizen TV.
Education Ministry has issued a warning that no school bus will be allowed to operate before complying with the directive as contained in the Traffic Act.