The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Bus Owners Fault Night Ban

A section of bus companies and travellers yesterday expressed mixed reactions over the night travel ban on Passenger Service Vehicles.

Mash East Africa general manager Lennox Shalo said though the ban will reduce road carnage, it should have been done in a humane way.

He said the company's fleet of about 50 buses will have to operate at half their capacity.

Shalo said the government should have involved all stakeholders before imposing the ban.

"All stakeholders are out to reduce road carnage. They shoud have been involved," he said.

Shalo was speaking to the Star on the phone yesterday.

If by the ban there will be a reduction in road carnage, then so be it. But all stakeholders should have been involved," said Shalo on phone yesterday.

He however said there are minimal changes in terms of mode of operation. He said there clients are the most affected.

Modern Coast boss Harun Butt said the ban has had a negative impact on his business.

"We are losing revenue because our operations have been halved. We have had to reschedule our journeys thereby inconveniencing travellers who had already booked," said Butt.

A senior official at the Coast Buss company said the ban should have been effected on February 1, 2014.

Bus companies yesterday told the Star they are operating at 30-50 per cent ever since the ban was imposed on December 24.

He said there should have been time allowed for the companies to adjust.

"It now takes two days to get to Kisumu from Mombasa instead of the 13-15 hours. This is not good for business," said the official.

Passengers, especially those travelling over long distances, are the most affected lot. The time it takes to get to Nyanza and Western Kenya regions from Mombasa has almost doubled.

David Legoshe, who recently travelled to Kampala from Mombasa and back by bus said they had to use extra money on food and accommodation on the road.

"We had not budgeted for the same but we had to pay for food and accommodation. Those who could not afford had to sleep in the bus and it is uncomfortable," said Legoshe.

His bus was to start the journey on December 25 at 2pm had to be rescheduled to Dec 26 at 6am. they had to spend the night at Kericho as they got their at around 6.30pm before resuming the journey the following day.

The passengers want the ban lifted. Legoshe said trailers should have been banned instead of the PSVs.

Other passengers said some town service vehicles take advantage of the festive season and ply unchartered routes along highways.

"These are the ones that cause accidents mostly because they are unfamiliar with the routes," said Otieno Kachieng, a traveller.

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