Enock Amukhale, Sophie Njoka and Esther Nzuma @PeopleDailyKe
Public Services Vehicles owners yesterday urged the government to provide security at stopover points to protect travellers as the night travel ban left thousands stranded across the country.
They said unless this is done, they fear that travellers and their vehicles might be easy targets once the 6pm curfew takes effect. The night travel ban was last week imposed by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) as one of the measures to curb road carnage.
Speaking to the press in Mombasa yesterday, Chania Classic Sacco manager Erick Omollo said although the government had began implementing the night travel ban, it was yet to address issues of insecurity facing millions of passengers.
“The government should have first planned on how to address security for travellers before imposing the night travel ban,” he said. He added that bus drivers are now forced to make stopovers, anywhere once the 6pm curfew starts adding that it is now imperative for security apparatus to mount temporarily police posts in designated areas.
“For instance, our buses usually ply the Nairobi-Mombasa highway prone to wild animals threats especially at night,” he said. The ban which came as most Kenyans were planning to travel back to work and reopening of schools after the Christmas and New Year festivities, has left parents and students stranded.
Mary Gathoni, a student at Limuru Girls’, was yesterday stranded at the 2NK Sacco booking office in Mombasa, after she was informed that the night travel ban had taken effect and she had to wait for a re-schedule. She said she only had Sh1,500 for fare to Nairobi adding that the bus company had also hiked fare to Sh2,500 which she could not raise.
“I was supposed to report to school today (yesterday) but I cannot make it and I have decided to go back home as my parents source for extra money to enable me travel to Nairobi,” she said.
Hundreds of passengers were also stranded at various bus terminus in Western Kenya after they missed the early morning buses to Nairobi and Mombasa. Some of the passengers were forced to spend the night at the bus terminus after some of bus companies cancelled scheduled night trips to comply with NTSA regulations.
At Luanda, Mbale, Majengo, Chavakali and Gambogi bus stages in Vihiga county, hundreds of passengers jostled for the few available buses travelling to Nairobi. Buses which were available for day time travel hiked fares.
From Luanda to Nairobi, fare was hiked to Sh2,000 from the normal Sh800. Student reporting back to school yesterday were not spared the travel nightmare as some were caught flat-footed following the hiked fares.
Julius Sikobe, who was to report back to work yesterday, said he was forced to go back home blaming NTSA’s ban which he termed “untimely”. “I was to report back to work yesterday in Nairobi but I could not get a bus back.
I blame NTSA for banning night travel without proper planning, especially at a time when the majority of Kenyans had travelled for Christmas holidays,” said a visibly angry Sikobe. The same situation was witnessed in Kakamega, Busia and Mumias Buses available in the morning.