Kenyan bus operators feel the pinch as travellers shy away from bus stations ahead of Oct 26 poll

A spot check by Business Insider SSA at the Machakos bus station saw very minimal activities taking place.

Bus operators are feeling the pinch as travellers have shied away from major bus stations in Nairobi with just a day to the Oct 26 repeat election.

As opposed to the Aug 8 election period where business was booming, the scene was quite different when Business Insider SSA visited the Machakos Bus Station, the capital city’s biggest bus station.

Only a few passengers were spotted alighting the buses with a good number of them being students who have closed school for the holiday.

“Business is worse compared to last time (Aug 8 period). There are hardly any passengers around and the few ones are travelling for personal reasons other than going to vote at their rural homes,” decries Musila, a tout at one of the buses plying the Machakos route.

“Last time our bookings were full with just three weeks to the election in spite of the high fare prices but this time round we cannot even think of adjusting the prices as we’ll not have any business,” he added.

Tough economy

Some of the touts were of the opinion that the tough economic environment was to blame for the lack of commuters, adding that people had no cash to travel.

“It is not about a matter of people not willing to travel to their ancestral homes to vote, most of them do not even cash to travel in the first place,” said Nickson, a bus tout.

Major bus stations across the city are usually a bee-hive of activities during the election period with people making their way to their rural homes to cast their votes.

Election uncertainty

The Oct 26 election re-run has been thrown into uncertainty following Opposition leader Raila Odinga's withdrawal from the poll earlier in October.

Odinga has reiterated that the election will not be held until the electoral body, accused of bungling the Aug 8 vote, is reformed.

He has since asked his supporters to keep off the polling stations on the election date.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has however maintained that the polls will go on as scheduled stating that those with the intention to disrupt the election would be dealt with firmly by the law.

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