NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 17 – The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has denied lifting the suspension it imposed on Modern Coast Express Limited, a luxury bus service operating major local and regional routes.
The transport regulator’s denial came shortly after Modern Coast notified its customers of resumption of services after its operating license was suspended on Thursday, December 12 following an accident involving two of its buses in Salama along the Nairobi-Mombasa highway resulting in seven deaths.
NTSA did not however comment on the authenticity of a letter addressed to Modern Coast in which the regulator is understood to have cleared 43 out of 73 inspected buses.
“In view of the above stated progress, the authority has decided to lift the ban on the 43 vehicles that have passed the inspection. Other vehicles still undergoing inspection will be cleared once they have completed the inspection,” NTSA was quoted as having said in a letter dated December 17.
The road safety agency had asked the transport provider to avail all its 88 buses for a thorough inspection.
NTSA also subjected all Modern Coast crew to a mandatory refresher course on Saturday as part of corrective measures before resumption of service.
Update : Modern Coast Suspension
This is to notify members of the public that the suspension of Modern Coast Express has not been lifted.
— NTSA KENYA (@ntsa_kenya) December 17, 2019
The authority, in a statement on Thursday, had directed the National Police Service to impound any vehicles operated by Modern Coast found to be operating contrary to the suspension.
The agency said a thorough probe had been initiated into the operations of Modern Coast Express Ltd.
“Following the early Thursday morning crash involving two of their buses, the Authority has with immediate effect suspended the Company’s operator’s license and initiated a thorough investigation into its safety standards and operations,” the statement read.
To our customers, we would like to clarify that we received the letter below from @ntsa_kenya lifting our suspension hence resumption of operation. Please note that the earlier communication was based on the letter below.
We shall update and advise on the way forward shortly. pic.twitter.com/GliIIRmByW
— MODERN COAST EXPRESS (@Modern_Coast) December 17, 2019
NTSA Director-General George Njao said the agency had also initiated a thorough investigation into the safety standards and operations of Modern Coast even as he confirmed that the company’s access to the NTSA portal had been deactivated to limit any activities on their 88 vehicles until the probe is concluded.
The company said passengers whose scheduled travel was cancelled as a result of the NTSA suspension would be refunded through mobile money payment platforms.