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Hundreds of travellers stranded as holiday season comes to an end

Hundreds of travellers across the country returning to towns after the holidays were left stranded as public service vehicles grappled to meet the demand.

In Kisii County, many were forced to wait for hours outside various booking offices.

Ms Christine Mokaya said she woke up early to get an express matatu to Nakuru, but three hours later she was yet to get one. She said most vehicles were fully-booked by the time she got to the booking office.

Popular booking offices such as those for Transline and Smartline were full of passengers waiting for vehicles that were not forthcoming.

However, business was good for the PSVs with a manager at Transline, Mr Godfrey Mogaka, saying the increased demand had boosted their business.

In Kitui, travellers were stranded with matatu owners doubling fare to various destinations.

Those travelling to Machakos, Thika and Nairobi on Tuesday paid a flat rate of Sh700 up from the usual Sh300 or Sh400.

INCREASED FARE

Some people however opted to go back to their homes and wait for a few days with hopes that the fares would drop to the normal charges.

The fare from Meru to Nairobi equally increased with travellers paying Sh800 up from Sh500. On Monday evening, some operators were charging up to Sh1,500 from Meru Town to Nairobi taking advantage of desperate travellers.

But in Embu Town, transport out of the town was paralysed for about three hours yesterday morning, after matatu crew took to the streets to protest against increased levies by the county government.

The matatu operators used more than 200 vehicles to barricade the busy Embu-Nairobi Highway, completely bringing traffic to a standstill.

Led by county matatu owners association chairman, Mr Robinson Munyi, the operators complained that the devolved unit had arbitrarily increased the charges from Sh1,200 to Sh3,000, per month, from January.

The protest left hundreds of travellers stranded in bus parks with some opting for boda bodas for short distances.

Reported by Elgar Machuka, Thomas Waita, Bruhan Makong and Charles Wanyoro