, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 9 – The suit filed by the Kenya Country Buses Owners’ Association challenging the night travel ban has been put off by the High Court until Monday next week due to a similar pending case.
Duty judge Weldon Korir said this will ensure the rulings in both cases are not contradictory.
He stated that the matter will be mentioned on Monday before Justice Isaac Lenaola.
The bus operators through lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui want the directive contained in Legal Notice No. 219 of 2013, published last month nullified on grounds that it is illegal, arbitrary and draconian.
“I believe the Ministry of Transport has created this wrong impression that this Legal Notice affects only long distance buses and that is not the case. If you are an owner of a tour van which is classified under the traffic Act as a Public Service Vehicle this means you cannot as an individual be licensed as a tour van operator. If the ministry licenses you, it is doing so illegally,” Kinyanjui stated.
Kinyanjui explained that the new regulations require the bus companies to remove roof carriers that were permitted under the Traffic Rules and they will now be compelled to re-configure the vehicles and cede the business to courier companies.
“Even for long distance Public Service Vehicles, why remove the carrier. Rule 56 in the Traffic rules authorizes these carriers and it has not been repealed. So I do not see how the NTSA can come up with regulations that are contradictory with what is in existence. These carriers are necessary for long distance buses,” he said.
He further revealed that individual Public Service Vehicle (PSV) owners are being driven out of business by being forced to join corporate entities.
“You cannot force someone to join a company in order to do business. An individual who owns a tour van will therefore not be amenable to be licensed as a Public Service Vehicle Operator because you must have a minimum of 30 PSVs if you belong to a Sacco or 25 if you belong to a company. That is a mystery that the Ministry of Transport needs to unravel to us,” he said.
The Kenya Country Buses Owners’ Association is one of the nine operators petitioning the court to revoke the legal notice that brought it into force, leading into massive losses.
The PSV operators through lawyer Kinyanjui filed the application on Tuesday describing the ban as an abuse of power by the Transport Ministry.
The application to lift the ban was certified as urgent and the petitioners and respondents directed to appear before Justice Isaac Lenaola.
Transport Cabinet Secretary Engineer Michael Kamau however, described the PSV operators’ move to court was unnecessary because operators have been given a choice to obtain night travel permits.