Frustration, anger as NTSA ban jolts travellers
Hundreds of Kenyans were left frustrated at various traveling termini a cross the country on Tuesday following prolonged wait for transport to different destinations.
Many of the panic-gripped travelers were left stranded after their travel plans were jolted by the National Transport and Safety Authority’s (NTSA) ban on night travel by long distance Public Service Vehicles (PSV).
The ban was effected by NTSA on New Year’s eve in the wake of the horrific road accident at Migaa along the Nakuru-Eldoret highway that left 36 people dead.
At Easy Coach booking office in Nairobi, agitated passengers confronted the management seeking quick solutions to their predicament.
“I have been here since 5am in the morning and it is now almost 11am and I’m yet to get a bus for my child who is heading back to school in Mbale. I was told to be here early so that he could leave at 6am but see, we are still here,” said a vexed Elizabeth Muganya.
Another passenger, Felix Onyango, almost resorted to fist fight with the management complaining of being delayed despite arriving at the terminus on time.
The company’s management however sought to absolve themselves from blame saying sudden change of traveling schedule had been occasioned by the panic-stricken passengers.
“We are in the process of clearing the backlog because most of the passengers had booked even before Christmas. The ban on night travel has caused great panic among our customers. It is not that we do not have enough vehicles,” said Paul Otieno, Easy Coach’s Customer Care Manager.
Mr Otieno said that they have now doubled the number of buses leaving the city to upcountry from 6 every 30 minutes to 12 within the same time span to contain the situation as they had been fully booked up to January 6, for both day and night journeys.
“We have availed enough buses to cater for everyone and by the end of the day all will be well. We have also stopped advance booking until our operations return to normal,” he said.
At Guardian Angel office, the situation was a bit relaxed as passengers boarded buses and shuttle matatus with little hitches.
The company has also increased the number of their buses and shuttles and stopped advance bookings to comply with the ban.
“We have not been affected that much because we have enough buses. But we have stopped advance bookings until further notice. We are only allowing instant bookings and our fare remains the same,” said Wilfred Kiboma of Guardian Angel.
At Transline Classics booking offices, the situation was also controlled.
“We have put in much effort to contain the situation by ensuring that all our buses are now available. We are also dealing with passengers according to the day they booked. That is why there is much calm here,” said one of the ticket attendants for the company.
At Machakos Country Bus terminus, both travelers and operators complained about the effects of the ban which has affected fares and the number of trips.
“The ban has greatly affected us since we are only able to make at most 2 trips down from 6 trips we used to do before the ban,” said Julius Ogore, a ticket vendor with Luxury Coach which plies the Kitale and Bungoma route.