The night-time drive ban for overland buses in Kenya is finally over. Several of the leading bus companies have now been cleared again for overnight schedules, connecting not only the Kenyan cities and upcountry towns with the capital of Nairobi but also once again allowing for overnight trips from places like Kampala, Kigali, Bujumbura, and Juba.
The past six months caused the bus companies some serious losses in terms of underutilizing their fleets while at the same time the launch of low-cost carrier Jambojet, ate deeply into the passenger numbers. More and more travelers began to shift to air transport, which, if booked early enough is only marginally more expensive than a bus but of course much faster. Whether those who regularly travel to Mombasa, Kisumu, and Eldoret will go back to bus rides remains to be seen.
Some key bus companies introduced partnerships with leading insurers, providing automatic travel insurance for their passengers when the night-time ban was introduced. Others added more intense cooperation with the Kenya Red Cross to be sure, should an accident happen, that first aid would be on the way as quickly as possible. It is understood from a source in Nairobi that Easy Coach, Modern Coach, Mash, and at least 4 other companies have been given clearance to resume night travel, while compensation claims against the government are being mulled over by the bus companies.
What remains to be seen now is how the bus companies will be able to claw back market share after many of their faithful travelers have switched to air travel over the past few months. The bus companies have reportedly resumed night operations already and travelers from abroad intent to using such overland transport, are advised to check with the operator of their choice to ascertain the new departure times.