KENYA: Night Travel Ban, Shrinking the Economy, Is Reversed

Finally the Secretary of Transport, Engineer Michael Kamau, has unlearned his economics of stupidity. He has discovered that enterprise has only one resource – time – which should be preserved. After banning public service vehicles from ferrying passengers at night for six months, the figures are in, and they are not satisfactory.

He has banned and stowed away 9 hours of travel every night; three-eighths of each day, and three-quarters of the night, for half a year, and still ended up with 80% of the accident figures of previous year.

In economic terms, he has reduced the nation’s daily production to 62.5%, only to realize the average accident reduction  to 80%. The correlation is not nearly significant, for all the disruption in the nation’s economic systems. Too much given away to gain too little.

Simply, time spent on the road was reduced by nine hours a day – 37.5%. Incidents of passenger death reduced by only 20%. For a serious economist conducting analysis, the probability of passengers dying on the road actually increased during this period, by a significant factor.

If the rate was 3000 people a year, for every 24 hour day, that resolves to 3000/(365*24), 0.34 fatalities per hour, or 1 death on the road, every 175 minutes, day or night. However, with the ban, absolute numbers tell a very misleading and false story. So the gross figures have reduced by 20%, by expectation, to 2400 a year. Given that this figure is to be considered for only 62.5% of the year, here’s the grim reality.

2400/(365*24*62.5/100) = 0.44 fatalities per licensed hour, or one death every 135 minutes.

In conclusion, the night travel ban actually increased your odds of dying on the road, from 1 in every 175 minutes, to 1 in every 135 minutes. You have fewer safe minutes than before, and are more likely to die on the road today – with the ban, than before, without it.

Not only that, the public transport industry has lost 37.5% productivity while adhering to these thoughtless rules. Do observe that Kenya’s economy has shrunk by more than 30 basis points, after a largely peaceful election. Choices really have consequences.

And don’t forget: this is why Mr Kamau has ‘licenced’ more than 300 buses to offer night travel to working citizens. His policy flopped.

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