The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) who declared a sudden night travel ban on public transport for the long distance operators has been met with varied opinions from the stake holders.
The ban became effective on Monday following the continuous loss of lives from road accidents especially experienced during the ending festive season.
Thousands of passengers across the country expecting to travel could be seen stranded and forced to spend at the bus terminus after booking their advanced travelling tickets while others had to return back home opting to travel the following day.
The Matatus Owners Association (MOA) have already appealed to the NTSA to review the ban citing a massive loss of revenue to the Kenyan economy and untold suffering among Kenyans and therefore wanted the ban reviewed.
MOA chair Mr. Simon Kimutai speaking to the press at their head offices in Nairobi on Thursday, explained that they had already met with the Transport CS James Macharia and made their presentations to him concerning the ban.
He added that they were not opposed to the proposed ban by the NTSA but wanted the time reviewed from the set 7pm time at least to Midnight citing massive loss of jobs and gave an example of Easy Coach Company which has 190 drivers, would be forced to use only 100 drivers, if the ban was not adjusted.
He blamed the corrupt traffic police officers who are just on the roads to collect bribes instead of checking compliance. Mr. Kimutai also added that the static traffic police should be replaced with those doing patrols to ensure motorists do not break the law.
“The traffic police are just on the roads to collect bribes instead of checking compliance and should therefore be replaced with those doing patrols to ensure motorists do not break the law”, he adds
Matatu Welfare Association (MWA) chairman Dickson Mbugua also complained saying it was a poorly thought-out unilateral decision that didn’t have a place in the 21st century citing that many Matatus owners were still struggling to pay up loans after a year disrupted by politics .
The NTSA director-general on the December 31 had defended the ban after the Salgaa incident, which involved a truck and bus crash and claimed 36 lives. Police Investigations indicated that the bus heading to Nakuru had left its lane and collided with an incoming truck. Several of the victims had been rushed to Molo hospital while others to Nakuru hospitals.
The area which is a 14 kilometer stretch has claimed more than 100 lives for past one month alone.
By George Ogallo.