[VIDEO] Passengers stranded as fares soar after night travel ban

A stranded passenger addresses a journalist at the Easy Coach bus station in Kitale, January 2, 2018. /CORAZON WAFULA
A stranded passenger addresses a journalist at the Easy Coach bus station in Kitale, January 2, 2018. /CORAZON WAFULA

NTSA's night travel ban as schools reopen has left many travellers stranded as fares have been hiked.

Fares are usually higher during the holidays but the ban, due to several grisly accidents, has made matters worse.

Passengers were seen camping at booking offices and stages on Tuesday, when students returned to school for the first term of the year.

Among them were those travelling from upcountry as the holidays end.

Travellers who spoke to The Star said fares had been doubled or tripled. They had to pay at least Sh350 from the city to Murang'a and Sh500 from Murang'a to Nairobi, an amount that is Sh150 higher.

Those travelling between Nairobi and Nakuru usually pay Sh300, but this has increased to Sh600, while those going to Eldoret, Uasin Gishu county, reported paying Sh1,200.

Stranded passengers at the Easy Coach bus station in Kitale, January 2, 2018. /CORAZON WAFULA

A traveller from Kisumu to Nairobi said she had to pay Sh2,000, which is double the usual amount.

"The ban has come at the wrong time because I have to take my family back from Eldoret. My son joins form one next week and I will travel to Nakuru for work. I will cough up a lot and one has to bear in mind that the holidays just ended," said Nakuru-based teacher James Kipngetich.

A traveller from Busia to Mombasa said he had to pay Sh3,500, up from the regular Sh1,700.

"The bus has to fit all trips tot he daytime. One must have Sh3,500. This is abnormal," he said.

In Kitale, passengers who reported to the Easy Coach office from as early as 6am said they had waited hours for buses to Nairobi.

Some booked tickets on December 19.

They threatened to storm the office and confront staff members who were reportedly hiding there.

"We are angry because the management did not advise us on the way forward," one said.

Stranded passengers at the Easy Coach bus station in Kitale, January 2, 2018. /CORAZON WAFULA

Kigumo Travellers Sacco vice chair Mwangi Kaheti said the government enforced the ban without consulting those affected.

"Our vehicles are now rushing against time so we can meet targets. This has caused us to spend more on fuel and our customers to suffer the effects."

NTSA banned night operations by public service vehicles following the deaths of at least 36 people at the Salgaa black spot. Several other accidents took place during the holidays, one leaving at least 60 people dead.

"Our records indicate that majority of crashes are occurring during the night," the National Transport and Safety Authority said in its statement on the ban, that was also signed by the traffic police department.

The authority said it consulted relevant government authorities and that the indefinite ban will enable a review of measures taken to improve road safety.

More on this:

Also read: