The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Matatu Owners Group Slams Night Travel Ban

THERE have been mixed reactions at the Coast following the government's directive to ban passenger service vehicles from traveling at night.

Through a special gazette on December 17, Transport Principal Secretary Nduva Muli 7 imposed a 6pm curfew on all night bus travel.

He said most accidents happen at night.

Muli told PSV operators who are reluctant to adhere to the new regulations.

On Saturday, the Matatu Owners Association Coast regional coordinator Salim Mbarak said the directive will not stop road accidents.

Mbarak said accidents are caused by tired drivers who are over worked by their employers during the festive season and poor roads condition.

"The Transport ministry and the National Transport and Safety Authority should review this directive," he said.

He said many bus companies had bookings of up to January 3.

Mbarak said the companies have incurred huge losses.

Mbarak said the government had promised a 24-hour economy and imposing such curfew to transport industry was against its campaign manifesto.

"They should consider expanding the Mombasa-Nairobi highway into dual carriage because it is too thin for busses to overtake," he said.

Haki Africa executive director Hussein Khalid also faulted the move saying it has caused big losses to bus companies operating in the country.

"The government is imposing a blanket punishment to all bus companies while some are compliant to the traffic rules," he said.

Khalid said many people have been forced to spend more money to travel from Mombasa to other parts of the country because of the unexpected overnight stays due to the 6 pm curfew.

However, Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya has backed the directive saying it will help curb the number of accident on the Kenyan roads.

CIPK secretary general Sheikh Mohamed Dor said all buses should adhere to the new regulations to end the road carnage on the roads.

Coast Traffic commandant Martin Kariuki has emphasized that traffic police officers are on the look to arrest any defiant vehicle seen travelling at night.

He said they have deployed officers on all the roads in the region who have also been able to arrest several drunk drivers using the alcohol blow parameter.

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