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Hundreds of travellers heading upcountry stranded in Nairobi

Hundreds of passengers travelling to Western Kenya from Nairobi for Easter holidays were on Thursday night left stranded as public service vehicles grappled to meet the demand.

Many of them were forced to wait for hours outside various booking offices.

Ms Mary Moraa, who had planned to travel to Kisii, said most vehicles were fully-booked by the time she got to the booking office on Thursday afternoon.

“At Ena Coach booking office, I was told vehicles to Kisii would only be available on Saturday. I was forced to move from one station to another only to find space at Otange shuttle where fare has been hiked,” said Ms Moraa.

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

HIKED FARES

Prices in some booking stations had been hiked by more than Sh1,000, hurting passengers even the more.

“I usually pay Sh800 to travel to Kisii, but today I have been forced to pay Sh1,500. They said to board their bus, you must pay Sh1,300 while a shuttle is nothing less than Sh1,500. But I had to wait for the vehicle for more than six hours,” said Ms Moraa.

Booking stations that had not hiked prices such as Ena Coach did not have space to Kisii and Homa Bay and passengers were told to try on Saturday.

At Machakos Country Bus stage, some commuters were forced to spend the night in the cold as they awaited for the vehicles they had booked.

However, business was good for the PSVs with some managers saying the increased demand had boosted their business.

TRANSPORT CRISIS

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

The transport crisis in the rush for Easter holidays which begin today (Friday) comes in the wake of increased fuel prices, adding more pain to Kenyans.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on Sunday announced new prices for petrol, diesel and kerosene, which rose to hit Sh106.60, 102.13 and Sh102.22 respectively.

The monthly review saw the prices of both petrol and diesel go up by Sh5 while the cost of kerosene, which is mainly used by majority of poor households, went up by Sh2.76.

“Changes in this month’s prices have been as a consequence of the average landed cost of imported super petrol increasing by 9.14 percent from $568.55 per tonne in February 2019 to $620.54 per tonne in March 2019,” said the ERC.