Commuters travelling upcountry for Christmas will pay dearly to reach their destinations following a significant increase in bus fare.
With a week to Christmas, different companies have hiked fares as demand for transport outstrips the number of vehicles on the road.
A 14-sitter shuttle to Eldoret is now charging Sh1,200, up from Sh700 with those heading to Kitale charging Sh1,500 up from Sh900 in October. The latter cost is anticipated to hit Sh1,800 next week.
Mombasa-bound buses are charging Sh1,800 between Mombasa and Nairobi up from Sh1,200 in October.
The Coast-based buses are making a killing after months of low business following the launch of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) in June, which took a huge chunk of travellers.
SGR trains are fully booked between now and December 31, an event that has seen buses use the opportunity to capitalise on stranded passengers.
Easy Coach has, however, retained fares in all the routes it plies, coming as a relief to passengers. The company is charging Sh1,200 between Nairobi and Eldoret, Sh1,300 from Nairobi to Kitale, Sh900 from the capital city to Homa Bay and Sh1,450 to Busia.
Managing director Azym Dossa says the decision is informed by the current economic hardship facing the common mwananchi.
“We have had to be considerate of our customers, we do not want to increase fares just to make quick cash out of it; we don’t want to burden them when they are already grappling with high cost of living,” said Mr Dossa.
He said his buses were fully booked between now and December 25, but the firm is creating room for additional five busses every day.
The company has a fleet of 100 vehicles plying different routes in the country.
According to the firm, the demand for upcountry travel has been so high that on Thursday night alone they had 43 busses heading to western Kenya.