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Bus operators count losses as cargo rules take effect

Exactly a week after long distance buses complied with transport regulations of removing cargo carriers from their roofs, operators are decrying massive loss of revenue.

A single trip upcountry could generate an extra Sh20,000 from cargo, aside from the fare paid by commuters.

Unmounting the cargo carriers was part of strict traffic rules by the National Transport Regulation Authority aimed at curbing road carnage.

At Machakos country bus stage, travellers with luggage are turned away and told to look for alternative means of transport for their consignment.

“The bus boot can only accommodate a little luggage which is offered on a first-come-first-served basis,” said a Matunda bus conductor.

Those who are lucky to get space for their luggage are charged more than double of what they used to pay before the regulation came into force.

Bus companies are charging commuters Sh700 instead of the initial Sh300 to transport cargo from Nairobi to western Kenya.

Joel Muinde, a Matuu bus driver said carrying cargo on the roofs used to generate revenue for the business.

“But now, our client numbers have significantly dropped as commuters who are discouraged from  travelling upcountry without their luggage seek private means,” he said.

Others, Mr Muinde, said have resorted to auctioning their personal belongings before boarding buses to travel upcountry. A heap of cargo carriers sits at a corner at the bus stage and operators said it will eventually be disposed of as scrap.