Suspension of bus operations in Kenya hits Busia touts hard

Suspension of bus operations in Kenya hits Busia touts hard
Modern Coast bus plys the Kampala-Nairobi route.

Busia, Uganda | URN | Hundreds of bus touts in Busia municipality are redundant following the suspension of bus operations in Kenya.

Last week, Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta suspended bus operations in Nairobi, Nakuru, Mombasa, Kajiado and Migori because of high cases of COVID-19.

This saw major bus companies such as Modern Cost, Simba Coach, Puma, Spider, Guardian and Easy Coach among others ground their fleets. Now, several bus touts operating at Busia border say the suspension has affected them economically since they don’t have an alternative source of income to support their families.

Josephate Mudakwa, a tout operating at Busia county bus park in Kenya says that he has been earning a minimum of Kshs 500 (about UGX 17,000) daily, but ever since President Uhuru suspended bus operations, he often sleeps on an empty stomach. He says should the situation continue, some of them may resort to crime for survival.

Salim Wegulo Mustafa, another tout says that taxi operators have also hiked transport fares, which has affected the number of travelers. According to Wegulo, they would have joined the taxi business but can’t compete for the few travelers with their colleagues in taxi parks.

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He says that only two buses of Modern Coach and Mash Cool that come directly from Nairobi to Kampala once in a while are still operational. He however says the buses go directly to Kampala and vise-verser without making a stop at the bus park.

The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) officer sitting on the traveler’s clearance desk told this publication on the condition of anonymity that the suspension of the buses has seen a reduction in the number of travelers through the Busia one stop border as buses that used to cross the border are now grounded.