Easy Coach has reduced fares on some of its western Kenya routes by up to Sh200 as demand for upcountry travel drops in the wake of Covid-19 economic hardships.
The bus firm has reduced fares on 22 of 35 routes including Kisumu, Kakamega, Siaya, Bungoma and Busia to retain and attract more travellers amid low travel to western Kenya.
The reduction comes less than two months after bus companies including Mololine, ENA Coach and Easy Coach raised fares to protect their margins after the State asked the operators to leave some seats empty in line with social distance rules.
“The number of passengers travelling up-country at the moment have slightly gone down due the hard economic situation posed by Covid-19 pandemic,” Easy Coach managing director Azym Dossa told Business Daily in an interview.
“We had to slash the fares to reduce the burden on long distance travel for our customers. We hope the situation will improve in the near future.”
Passengers going to Kisumu from Nairobi pays Sh1,650 down from Sh1, 800. The firm also charges passengers Sh1,550 to ferry them to Eldoret from Nairobi, down from Sh1,750 it was charging when it resumed operation in July.
But the firm has kept ticket prices unchanged in 13 routes including Nakuru, Narok, Mbita, Kendubay and Awendo.
Easy Coach charges passengers a flat fare of Sh1,400 to Keroka, Sh1,500 to Homabay, Sh1,450 to Oyugis and Sh800 to Narok from its hub in Nairobi.
“For demographic reasons, South Nyanza fares per kilometre have been on the lower side by far. So further adjustments demand not necessary,” said Mr Dossa.
President Uhuru Kenyatta in July lifted restrictions on movement into and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area, and Mombasa and Mandera counties — paving the way for a conditional resumption of PSV operations which had been suspended since March to contain the spread of the virus
As part of conditions set for resumption of public transport in an out of the three counties, PSVs operators were compelled to operate under strict health directives, including leaving some seats empty.
The Transport ministry, for instance, demands that a 14-seater PSV carry only 10 passengers, a 33-seater 18 passengers and a 51-seater 30 passengers. This includes the drivers and the crew.
PSV operators are also required to obtain special permits to enter Nairobi, Mombasa and Mandera, which had been marked as Covid-19 hotspots.
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