Capital FM (Nairobi)

Kenya: New PSV Drive Causes Christmas Agony

Nairobi — Stranded passengers crowded various bus terminus in Nairobi on Christmas Day following a directive banning Public Service Vehicles (PSV) from operating at night.

Many who had booked their travels for Christmas Eve were forced to spend the night at the bus termini as PSV operators said they had not applied for the requisite license to operate at night.

The directive was issued on Wednesday by Transport Principal Secretary Nduva Muli inline with new regulations gazzeted on December 17.

The passengers were caught unawares especially those who had booked for their night trip, after they were forced to either wait overnight or go back home and get back on Thursday morning.

On a spot check by Capital FM News, those who were supposed to travel during the day found their buses occupied leading to a crisis.

Joseph (he did not want to share his second name), who was supposed to leave at 9am for Kisumu said he was forced to wait after the bus management gave priority to those who missed to travel at night.

"If it is true that people have to travel during the day, what about where you are going. If you reach there at night, is that not part of Kenya?" he said in agitation adding that he discovered of the changes when he arrived to board.

However Joyce Otieno who was also headed in the same direction felt the crisis was due to the festivities and not necessarily the order on night travel.

"We were supposed to start travelling at 9:30 am but as at now we have not received any bus. But I am ready to wait and I don't have any problem with time because this is a busy season," she said.

Bus companies on the other hand were counting loses plus the hustle of trying to calm down angry passengers who found it hard to absorb the inconvenience.

Modern Coast Nairobi Manager Mohamed Omar said they were caught unawares leading to a huge travel crisis at the bus terminus in the morning.

"The night and day passengers are all coming to us at the same time and the buses are limited. So convincing them is so tough. Accidents also happened during the day and I think the government should have first removed all the trucks and not PSVs," Omar complained.

He said on Wednesday evening that the company was supposed to release 11 buses to Mombasa and two to Kampala Uganda, but that was not the case, "you can imagine how much we have lost. But we have no option, it's the law."

Coast Bus Nairobi supervisor Mohamed Ali said despite the loss they are going to make, the person feeling the heat is the passenger.

He said despite the rule being in place days earlier, the government should have created proper awareness like a month ago, before implementation.

"Passengers camped here all night, some with their children. So we allowed them to travel in the morning but those who came today, had to just go back with their refund," he said.

Moses Okusai, accompanied by his daughter, was heading to Malaba to celebrate Christmas with his family but says may now have to cancel the journey because of time.

"We are going to celebrate Christmas on this veranda. I have visitors back at home, and my family was waiting for me. I had even purchased a bull, now I don't even know who is going to slaughter it, "he said in desperation.

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