Upcountry matatu plying Nairobi routes suspend services

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020 00:00 |
Easy Coach Bus Company fleet parked at the Railways Bus Station as transport out and into Nairobi is cut off. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

Public Services Vehicles (PSVs) plying in and out of Nairobi metropolitan area yesterday grounded their services after the government ban on movement took effect.

 Bus companies operating from Nairobi to destinations in other East Africa countries issued notices to their customers over indefinite suspension of travel schedule but promised to refund fare.

Other companies opted to reschedule their customers’ travel plan for 90 days but the move was angrily opposed by passengers who demanded a refund.

Green Line Safaris operating from Nairobi, Malaba and Kampala remained closed yesterday to facilitate fare refund to their passengers.

James Menza an official of Greenline Safaris said they have adhered to government directives aimed at combating Covid-19 spread.

“We are operating in bid to facilitate refund for our customers who had paid in advance. We are also clearing the parcels to our city customers,” he said.

Travel plan

Modern Coast Express has also suspended their operations but opted to reschedule passengers travel plan with a notice saying: “All passengers that had already booked have an option of rescheduling their travel with a voucher provided valid for up to 90 days from today”.

In counties, PSVs businesses were disrupted, as they could not get into the Nairobi Metropolis.

In Mombasa, several Nairobi-bound buses with passengers were forced to return after the President announcement.

Most of the bus booking offices at the Mwembe Tayari terminus within Mombasa CBD remained closed yesterday, with apology notices patched on the walls of the offices welcoming travellers.

In Uasin Gishu, the management of the various saccos whose PSVs ply the Eldoret-Nairobi route refunded their passengers fare. 

Meanwhile, Rift Valley regional Commisiner George Natembeya urged passengers aboard the Dreamliner bus coach from Mombasa together with a patient who tested positive for the Covid-19 in Nakuru to avail themselves for isolation.

Natemebeya said  contact tracing was ongoing warning that failure to avail themselves in the next 12 hours will lead to arrest subsequent isolation and charges preferred against them.

Travellers seeking to get into Thika and other parts of Kiambu County through the busy Thika-Murang’a Highway were barred from going into Nairobi from Murang’a, Nyeri, Embu and Kirinyaga.

And  in Kisumu PSV operators reported an unusual spike in travellers to Naivasha town.

Passengers said being in Naivasha, they will be able to access the country’s capital using unconventional routes.

Though Matatu Owners Association (MOA) officials supports government measures and directive to combat Covid-19 spread, yesterday, the officials said they feel the government has neglected the sector.

MOA chairman Simon Kimutai said the government has failed to offer subsidies to the public transport sector even after their effort to adhere to all requirements.

“Public transport is a government responsibility but we have invested heavily to bridge the gap but unfortunately we have been left to die a natural death,” he said.

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