6 January 2014

Kenya: Bus Owners Lobby Urge the State to Reconsider Night Travel Ban

BUS owners have vowed to fight gazetted regulations banning PSV night travel. Kenya Country Buses Owners' Association xhairman, Paul Mburu Muthumbi said his members are moving to court to quash the night ban by revoking the orders gazetted by the National Transport and Safety Authority. The authority recently gazetted the ban to curb the rising incidents of road crashes.

The directive was later spelt out by Transport Secretary Nduva Muli as he reiterated that only public transport vehicles with 24-hour operating licences will be allowed to carry passengers at night.

He warned that any company found operating buses at night without adherence to the new law will be fined Sh50,000 while drivers will face a jail term not exceeding one year, or both. However, the association said the changes will result in the collapse of the sector.

Muthumbi is urging the government to reconsider the ban and instead initiate negotiations with the industry players as the ban is likely to stifle the sector.

"The KCBOA confirms that its more than 200 members support initiatives which are intended to improve road safety. However, it does not believe that the proposals for the night ban of PSV travel as currently set out will be as beneficial as suggested and that this will very likely cause serious unintended repercussions in other sectors of the economy," he said.

Muthumbi said they are requesting dialogue with the government, which acted unilaterally without consulting PSV owners.

"The demise of the PSV nighttime drive fleet means that Kenya's transport capacity will be severely constrained.This ban came at a time when many passengers had already booked for nighttime travel jeopardising even other businesses by people engaged in distant markets thus rendering the country's exports uncompetitive and creating a huge transport liability for Kenya,"he said.

Muthumbi said it is also not clear what the status of their licenses will be because the government is offering temporary licenses.

He said they should be allowed to continue operating, so as to reduce the pressure on daytime travel."This ban has resulted in serious implications for PSV business turnover."

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