Passengers travelling on Nakuru-Nairobi highway were stranded on Thursday evening when police impounded 13 passenger vehicles that had contravened the travel ban.
“Our officers arrested the drivers of the 13 vehicles who had contravened the night travel ban law for passenger service vehicles plying along the highway past 7 pm. The vehicles were also taken to Mwariki Police post pending clearance with police,” said Nakuru OCPD Samuel Obara.
The passengers had to spend their night in the vehicles after they were detained at Mwariki Police Post in Nakuru County.
Mr Obara said the vehicles, including buses and shuttles, were travelling past the 7pm deadline along the route.
The passengers expressed their frustration at having to spend the cold night inside the bus at the police station.
Mr Justine Mwangi, a businessman who was travelling to Eldoret using the Greenline bus, said they left Nairobi at around 4pm and were hopping to spend the night at a stopover in Nakuru but the vehicle was impounded a few kilometres to Nakuru Town.
He claims the bus was impounded at 8pm and held at the roadside before being taken to the police station more than three hours later.
“We are wondering why the bus had to be stopped at this point when were almost approaching the stopover. Did they want us to stop at the forest?” questioned Mr Mwangi.
Another passenger, Mr Elijah Ngige, accused the police of punishing them for mistakes they had not committed.
He said the police should have dealt with the bus company and allowed them to continue with their journey.
“We boarded the bus knowing that by 7pm we would have arrived in Nakuru Town. Unfortunately we experienced a jam while leaving Nairobi, so the police should be understanding enough to give the allowance of time,” said Mr Ngige.
The passengers urged the government to extend the deadline for travel to 11pm to allow drivers time to get to the next stopover.
The OCPD, however, defended the police and added that the vehicles did not have co-drivers to ferry the passengers to their destinations.
He said the drivers could have handed over to their assistants as they remain behind to answer to the charges.
“It was not the wishes of the police to detain the vehicles with the passengers, it is only that the bus company did not have proper arrangements to have them transported,” said Mr Obara.
The vehicles were released on Friday morning as the drivers were taken to court.
This was the second time vehicles were being detained at the police post.
The OCPD said seven others were impounded on Wednesday evening and the drivers were arraigned in court on Thursday.