PASSENGERS in Kisumu city have been forced to pay double fare as public service vehicles cash in on the reopening of schools. A spot check by the Star on Sunday established that the fare to various destinations had doubled.
The shuttles from Kisumu to Nairobi increased fare to Sh2,000 from Sh1,000 while buses were charging Sh1,800. Many travellers were stranded as most of the vehicles are booked until January 8. The buses plying the Kisumu- Mombasa route via Nairobi are fully booked until January 13.
Those travelling to Mombasa have to pay Sh3,000 up from Sh2,000 while those heading to Nakuru are paying Sh1,500 up from Sh600. Passengers travelling from Kisumu to Eldoret are paying Sh600 up from Sh 400. Those who were travelling to Kisumu from Kericho were also paying Sh600.
At the Kisumu bus stop, most buses are leaving early in the morning to adhere to the new law that has banned night travel. The same situation has been reported in Migori, Siaya, Kisii, Nyamira and Homa Bay counties. Commuters blamed the situation on the ban.
They appealed to the government to lift the ban to enable students to travel back to school and arrive in good time. "We are stranded with children at the bus stop and the fare has been hiked beyond our reach," a traveller said at the Kisumu bus stop.
The commuters said the government should establish the "real" cause of road accidents because the ban will not end road carnage. "Proper policies need to be put in place with only roadworthy vehicles being allowed to operate," John Ouma, a passenger, said.
Mary Wanjiru, a passenger, said the festive season is over and asked the government to allow vehicles to operate as normal. She said the ban has come at a heavy price for parents and pupils, who are likely to report to school late. "There are still accidents on our roads and more than 20 people have died despite the night travel ban," Wanjiru said.
Banks and supermarkets were busy as parents and guardians made last minute preparations for their children's return to school. At Nakumatt and Ukwala supermarkets, customers spent 20 minutes at the till instead of the normal five because of long queues.