KISUMU, KENYA: Hundreds of travellers had to spend their New Year eve in the cold following the unexpected ban on night travels for Public Service Vehicles.
The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) issued the ban following a tragic road accident which claimed over 35 lives at Migaa along Eldoret-Nakuru Highway on Saturday night.
Public Transport companies had to cancel bookings for the Sunday night travels, forcing travelers to either spend extra money on accommodation or just spend the night at the stations.
A spot-check by the Standard revealed that most passengers had no information about the ban, especially those who had made prior bookings, and they had been disappointed by the transport companies which chose to abide by the harsh directive.
At the Transline Bus Services, the ticketing officers said they had to call all the passengers who had booked to inform them of change of travel schedules.
“None of the passengers who were to travel this night have arrived. We managed to call all of them, and informed them that they report tomorrow (Monday) morning,” said an officer.
The same situation was reported at the Guardian Bus Services, where the operators had to suspend bookings to allow them transport those who had booked.
“We are not booking people any more. Those who had booked for tonight and tomorrow night have to be rescheduled, and once they are all served then we can start fresh bookings,” said a ticket officer.
While the established bus companies could offer waiting lounges as shelter for their clients to rest as they waited for the rescheduled trips, the passengers at the main bus stage had to bear with the harsh night open environment.
The passengers who had booked their travels as early as 7am on Sunday had to wait till Monday morning to travel.
“I came here in the morning and booked the night bus, and the information on the ban on night travels came after I had booked, so I have reported here for my journey and I am told I have to wait till tomorrow,” said Mark Ouma, a passenger at one of the bus companies plying Kisumu-Nairobi route.
Ouma had to spend the night at the passenger shade with his colleagues as they waited for daybreak so as to commence their journey.
“I think the blanket condemnation of night travels is not the solution to road carnage in the country. The authorities have to come out and embrace the realities on the real causes of accident, because such bans have not provided any help in the past, but just impacts negatively on the economy,” he said.