Guardian Bus Service raises fares on peak travel in western Kenya

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Guardian Bus Service raises fares on peak travel in western Kenya


Passengers wait to board Guardian buses in Nairobi on August 1, 2017. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG

Summary

  • The bus company has raised fares on about 90 percent of its routes, including Kisumu, Kakamega, Siaya, Bungoma and Busia, which are in high demand for travel to western Kenya.
  • The increase comes less than three months after bus companies including Easy Coach cut fares to retain and attract more travelers to western Kenya.
  • Travelers to Kisumu from Nairobi by Guardian Bus Service pay 1,300 shillings instead of 1,200 shillings.

Guardian Bus Service has raised fares on nearly all of its routes by up to Sh100 as demand for outback travel has been eased from Covid-19 restrictions.

The bus company has raised fares on about 90 percent of its routes, including Kisumu, Kakamega, Siaya, Bungoma and Busia, which are in high demand for travel to western Kenya. The increase comes less than three months after bus companies including Easy Coach cut fares to retain and attract more travelers to western Kenya.

Easy Coach charges passengers a flat fare of Sh900 at Keroka down from Sh1,400 in December, Sh1,100 at Homa Bay down from Sh1,500, Sh1,100 at Oyugis down from Sh1,450 and Sh700 to Narok from Sh1,000 from its Nairobi hub.

The rate cut came after the state lifted strict Covid-19 containment measures such as wearing face masks in open public places and allowing full in-person worship for those vaccinated.

Kenya’s positivity rate – the proportion of people who test positive – continued to fall, standing at 0.3% on Monday from a peak of 37.6% on December 27.

The drop in infection rates was driven by increased vaccination against Covid-19, with more than 7.9 million Kenyans fully vaccinated on Wednesday, down from 3.93 million on December 27.

“We have increased fares on almost all of our routes. The fare increase can be up to 100 shillings on each route,” a Guarding Bus Service representative told the business daily Thursday.

“You have to understand that the number of passengers traveling inland has increased, especially as the government has eased the Covid-19 restrictions.”

Travelers to Kisumu from Nairobi by Guardian Bus Service pay 1,300 shillings instead of 1,200 shillings.

The company also charges passengers 1,300 shillings to ferry them to Siaya from Nairobi, up from 1,200 shillings last month.

The bus company has also increased its fare from Sh100 on other routes such as Bungoma to Sh1,300.

The company does, however, charge passengers a flat fare of 1,000 shillings to ferry them to Kisii from Nairobi – the same prices it charged last month.

“Due to demographic reasons, South Nyanza’s per kilometer rates have been far lower. So further adjustments are not necessary,” Easy Coach general manager Azym Dossa told the business daily.

The low positivity rate in the country saw Kenya earlier this month lift the wearing of face masks in open public places and restore full in-person worship for those vaccinated.

Spectators were allowed to return to venues without a mask while Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) were allowed to resume carrying passengers at full capacity without a mask mandate.

The state also lifted the PCR requirement for international travelers, while unvaccinated travelers are now subject to an antigen test at their own $50 cost and required to self-isolate.

The nation had relied on mass vaccinations to keep infection rates lower and avoid lockdowns, which triggered layoffs and a shrinking economy last year.

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Melvin Z. Madore