Modern Coast bus licence suspended after accident
Reuben Mwambingu and Simon Nthusi
Hundreds of travellers were left stranded at the Modern Coast Bus booking offices countrywide following announcement of suspension of the buses’ operation licence by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) in the wake of yesterday’s accident that claimed seven lives.
Shortly after the accident at Kiongwani near Salama town on Mombasa-Nairobi highway, Makueni county, NTSA Director General George Njao announced the company’s licence had been revoked and further directed the National Police Service to impound any of their vehicles found operating contrary to the order.
In his statement, Njao said the authority has initiated a thorough investigation into the bus safety standards and operations.
The company’s access to the NTSA portal has also been deactivated to limit any activities on their 88 vehicles, the authority said in a statement.
“Over the last couple of days, the authority has been monitoring the operations and following reports of several near fatal crashes.
Following the early Thursday morning crash involving two of their buses, the authority has with immediate effect suspended the company’s operator’s license,” he said.
Seven people died while 60 others sustained injuries in the 2am accident at Kiongwani area.
Five died on the spot and other two succumbed while receiving treatment at Sultan-Hamud hospital.
Makueni county police boss Joseph ole Naipeiyan said the two buses collided head-on. “One was coming from Mombasa headed to Nairobi while the other was travelling from Malaba to Mombasa,” he said.
“The bus that was traveling to Nairobi left its lane and collided with the other heading to Mombasa,” Napeiyan added.
In Mombasa and Nairobi, tension rocked the bus company’s booking offices in Mwembe Tayari after stranded passengers engaged the management in bitter exchange demanding refund of their bus fares.
Passengers yesterday decried the decision by NTSA saying it ill timed given that thousands of Kenyans had travelling plans this being a festive season.
The company however said through its Twitter handle that it would start refunding money to those who had booked to travel to various destinations with the bus on Monday.
“We are working with NTSA and will be meeting with them tomorrow to resolve this issue and come up with a concrete plan of action.
For those already booked to travel with us, we sincerely apologise for this and a refund of the same will be initiated from Monday December 16,” the post said.
The company said it is committed to the road safety regulations and it had launched probe into the accident.