NTSA, Modern Coast online spat leaves commuters stranded

For some time now there has been uncertainty on when Modern Coast Bus Services could resume operation after the suspension of its Road Service Licence following the fatal accident on 12th December that left seven people dead.

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And as is the case with many Kenyans during the holiday season, traveling becomes the norm. Stranded passengers, on learning about the suspension, flocked the company’s booking offices in Mombasa and Nairobi demanding refunds.

But little progress was forthcoming.

And so, when commuters read a message from the operator’s twitter handle; “We are pleased to inform all our passengers that we have received permission from NTSA to resume normal scheduled bus services from 1.00 pm today – the 17th December 2019(Tuesday),” it was a sigh of relief.

The bus company would even go-ahead to share the “alleged NTSA letter” which informed the operator, among other things, “The Authority has decided to lift the ban on the 43 vehicles that have passed the inspection. Other vehicles still undergoing inspection would be cleared once they have completed the process.”

But that letter dated December 17th, 2019, signed by George Njau, Director-General has now stoked a storm at the Upper Hill-based offices of the authority. 

However, in a swift rejoinder or what looked like a knee-jerk reaction, the transport authority denied the claims in a new statement on its twitter handle; “This is to notify members of the public that the suspension of Modern Coast Express has not been lifted”.

Interestingly, NTSA has not come out to deny the origin of the alleged letter lifting the ban. Begging the question; who is fooling who? But as this circus unfolds, there is jobs loss and inconveniences to commuters at stake.

As the officials at the two offices ponder on the origin of the messages or whether there is a lift on the ban; it is clear many commuters will readjust their traveling schedules, albeit, until they get back their fare refunds or look for alternative means.

The agency last week directed the National Police Service to impound any of Modern Coast Express vehicles found to be operating contrary to the suspension.

“Following the early Thursday morning crash involving two of their buses, the Authority has with immediate effect suspended the Company’s operator’s licence and initiated a thorough investigation into its safety standards and operations,” read part of the statement.

The agency also deactivated the company’s access to the NTSA portal to limit any activities on their 88 vehicles, as the probe continued.

The crash occurred at Kiongwani, near Salama town along Mombasa-Nairobi highway, Makueni County. Seven people died and 60 others were injured in the 2:30 am accident involving two buses from the Modern coast bus company.

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