Fares hiked as commuters on Lamu-Garsen route grapple with bad road


Lamu, KENYA: Woes for commuters on the Lamu-Garsen road are far from over after fares were hiked for buses and other transport vehicles plying the route.

The fares were hiked following the bad state of the road that has been worsened by the ongoing rains which have seen parts of the road and bridges swept away by raging floods.

On Sunday, travelers heading to and from Lamu cut short their journeys after the Milihoi bridge was swept away by floods.

Those who were heading to Lamu had to go back and spend a night at Mpeketoni town.

The situation of the road has seen greedy drivers and private car owners cash in on the now desperate commuters.

Commuters now have to pay Sh.500 from Mpeketoni to Lamu instead of the initial Sh.150.

The new fares were executed starting Sunday afternoon.

Probox vehicles are the most common on the Lamu-Mpeketoni route.

Haroun Kombo, a probox driver said the fares were hiked owing to the fact that they now have to make connections for their passengers now that Milihoi is impassable.

“When we reach Milihoi, we sell our passengers to drivers on the other side of the road since vehicles cant go over. When doing so, we have to give the other driver some commission. It’s costly for us and therefore for them too and so naturally the fare cant stay the same,” said Kombo.

Commuters however feel the fare hike is extreme and since the majority have to struggle to raise it.

They are calling on the government to intervene and speed up construction of the road so as to lessen their troubles especially during rainy seasons as this.

“Not many of us can afford to pay Sh.500 to Mpeketoni then pay double that amount to cross over the other side to your destination. It’s too expensive,” said Farid Hassan.

Lamu county commander Muchangi Kioi assured commuters that the government was aware of the situation at Milihoi and that plans were already underway to rectify the situation and ease traveling on the road.

On March 9, 2017, president Uhuru Kenyatta launched the construction of the 135km road in Witu town.

The tender was awarded to H-Young Company which is being accused of too much laxity in conducting the exercise.

Kioi also assured commuters of adequate security after concerns were raised about the long duration that travelers now have to take at Milihoi, a renowned terror hotspot.

“We have already asked the concerned company H-Young company to report to Milihoi and rehabilitate that bridge so that traveling can resume. We have also deployed enough security officers to ensure all affected vehicles and passengers are safe,” said Kioi.