Regular Akamba bus users between Nairobi and Kampala will have to find a new home after news emerged that the company, one of the market leaders and with a way above average safety standard, has suspended operations amid reports from Kenya, that the company may in fact have to close down altogether.
Many Kenyans and Ugandans are traveling between the two countries by bus, in the absence of train passenger services and in view of the ever steeper cost of flying which has spurred a boom of bus connections between the two capitals. Budget tourists and back packers too will need to make adjustments to their guide book information, and research for other companies with an equally good safety record, to travel with across the landscapes of Eastern Africa at very affordable rates.
Once THE long distance bus company in Kenya, which eventually grew into a major regional force in road transport for passengers and small cargo shipments, Akamba has in recent years lost several senior executives who then set up shop themselves, probably copying the erstwhile market leaders business concept and progressively eating into the market share, a development which has put the very survival of the nearly 60 year old Kenyan company in question. Originating in Machakos, the bus company started to expand in the 70s, 80s and 90s covering Kenya with a network of locations and offering fares wananchi could actually afford. Often leading the market in service developments, like in bus entertainment, known for few breakdowns and adherence to schedules, important in particular for their Kenyan domestic operations which covered almost the entire country, but increasingly also for their Eastern African destinations, it will be a sad day for all those who had in the past travelled with Akamba, should indeed the final bell ring for them. That is however the most likely outcome following squabbles between company directors it appears, and failure to service short and medium term debts according to a source in Nairobi and the rocky road ahead was swiftly exploited by rivals pushing hard to take over routes and passengers.
From Kampala it was learned that Easy Coach has quickly struck a deal with the landlords of Akambas premises on Dewinton Road, which it now occupies, a known location of course for travelers using Akamba in the past and now finding a new owners on that location. Time for guidebook authors to check their latest information and revise and update details on Kenyan and East African road transport services.