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Night travel ban badly affected business, Coast traders say

The night travel ban that was lifted by court last week adversely affected businesses in the Coast, traders now say.

Apart from matatu and bus operators, businesses such as hotels which cash in on night travellers also registered huge losses.

PSV owners said they suffered huge losses following night travel ban that had been imposed by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) following fatal road crashes involving long-distance passenger vehicles.

Matatu Owners Association national vice chairman Ali Bates said the ban had affected the matatu business in the region.

“We had to reschedule the travel time affecting some of our passengers and us as owners as well. A majority of the passengers are used to night travel which they missed, something that affected our profits,” said Mr Ali.

PASSENGER SAFETY

However, he said what mattered most was the safety of the passengers.

“The night travel ban has affected the bus and matatu business a great deal. However, what we have to consider first is the lives of the passengers. As owners of the buses and matatus we should ensure that the passengers are safe and sound,” he said.

On his part, Mash East Africa bus company general manager Lennox Shallo said they had to flush the charges, it being a low season.

However he noted that the bus fare was fixed hence affecting their cost.

“We were really affected and we are hopeful that they will reconsider our negotiations to review the ban. We just hope business will get back to normal,” said Mr Shallo.

SURPRISE

Speaking to Nation, Modern Coast bus firm public relations officer Javis Sunday said the order by NTSA stopping night travel came as a surprise to them.

“It was a rule. As a company, we did not increase the fares because our rates are constant throughout all seasons,” he said.

Sources close to the company revealed that some drivers were sent home after the ban took effect.

“Normally when the buses operate at night they require two drivers but after the ban was imposed we had about three drivers who were sent packing. We just hope that they will be reconsidered when the ban is lifted,” said the source at one of the bus companies in Mombasa.

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