Bus terminuses in Nakuru were on Monday morning awash with travellers heading upcountry ahead of the Christmas festivities even as operators cashed in on the rush by raising fares.
And, as is the norm every Christmas season, the increases in fares did not dampen travellers’ spirits.
Determined to celebrate Christmas and New Year with their loved ones upcountry, the majority of the travellers appeared undeterred by the raising of fares by transport companies.
Long queues started forming as early as 6 am at different matatu booking offices including Smartline Travellers company and Prestige Safari Shuttle among others.
Commuters who seemed unmoved by the higher fares said some of the companies have been overwhelmed by the high number of travellers since December 15.
“Since I came here at 5.30 am I have not seen any matatu to Eldoret where l am headed. But I am determined to wait. I hear personal vehicles are charging much more to Eldoret, so l have no option but wait,” said Julius Korir.
An official at the Kangaroo Shuttles booking office said business was booming as people travel for the Christmas celebrations.
“We are receiving many customers most of whom are urban dwellers travelling to party with the rural folk as they were unable to travel last December,’’ said Mr Josphat Ongeri.
A spot check around terminuses found that travellers heading to Kisii were parting with Sh800, up from the usual Sh500, while those travelling to Kisumu were paying between Sh1,200 and Sh1,300.
Those travelling to Busia and Kakamega have not been spared either as fares now range from Sh1,000 to Sh1,400.
Those travelling to Eldoret are paying at least Sh500.
COMPENSATE FOR FUEL
Matatu crews told the Nation that they raised the fares to compensate for the fuel they will use on the ''empty'' return trip to Nakuru.
Some residents of Nakuru estates had a hard time getting to town due to a shortage of matatus as most owners have diverted their vehicles to the more lucrative upcountry routes.
An official of a matatu sacco whose vehicles ply the Nakuru-Kisii-Migori route said business was booming.
But travellers complained of a scarcity of matatus ferrying passengers to different destinations including Nyeri, Murang’a, Kisii, Eldoret, Kisumu, Thika, Busia, Kakamega and Migori.
An official at the Prestige Shuttle Company expressed optimism that passengers will be ferried home safely as all drivers had been advised to shun drink driving to avert accidents,” said the official.