Kenya: Modern Coast Resume Passenger Services

The modern coastal bus company will resume normal operations today after shutting down its passenger fleets due to unfavorable Covid-19 protocols issued by the government last year

The transport company has announced that it will fully resume its passenger traffic as it wants to recover in the transport business.

“We will begin operations on all inland routes from Mombasa, as we did before the pandemic,” Harun Butt, Modern Coast chief executive officer, told in a telephone interview.

Mr Butt said the company will also have a special offer for customers who book online as it is cheaper than coming to the office.

Between March last year and August this year, Mr Butt said the company suffered a loss of over Sh350 million as it had to downsize operations and an eventual cessation of passenger traffic across the country and in Uganda and Rwanda.

“Of a workforce of 1,100, only 300 are left. 800 people have lost their jobs,” he said.

Mr Butt said the bus company will release 20 buses from today to monitor demand.

The transport company announced the day after the government allowed public service vehicles to once again carry passengers at full capacity.

Last week the Department of Transportation announced that the decision to allow PSVs to resume full capacity was made after a review of the Covid-19 situation.

However, the decision has been made at a time when the country is experiencing the fourth wave of the pandemic. PSVs operated at 60 percent capacity as part of Covid-19 containment efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

PSV operators need to have disinfectants in place and self-regulating to ensure that profits from containing the virus are not reversed.

The Covid-19 protocol to reduce the number of passengers in all PSVs was announced last June, and bus companies have been struggling to stay afloat ever since.

During the measures, 14-seat Matatus were only allowed to carry eight passengers, while the buses carried 23 passengers per trip. This reduced their income significantly.

The Covid-19 protocols forced companies like Modern Coast and Mombasa Raha to shift their focus to courier services in order to stay in business.

Transportation companies like Modern Coast parked their buses, which management described as high operating costs that made the business expensive. The competition from shuttles with 14-seater vehicles also displaced companies trying to introduce new routes.

But with the measures being relaxed, the bus companies that have struggled are hoping to get fully back into business.

Mr Butt welcomed this move and added that it would save bus companies from further losses.

“All passengers who use our buses are screened before boarding and must mask themselves during the journey,” said Butt.

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