What can we do to fix traffic congestion in Nairobi? Matatu driver’s perspective…

The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry {KNCCI}, Nairobi County in partnership with EventUs Africa Ltd have organized the CITY TRANSPORT CONFERENCE & EXPO. {CITRA} ; scheduled for 24th to 26th September 2015 at Kasarani Sports Stadia indoor Arena, off Thika road.

An initiative that is set to reduce traffic congestion in Nairobi and its environs. I feel honored to be among the invited stakeholders for this forum. I wish to take this opportunity to extend my invitation to all those who read my blog. Come attend the inaugural City Transport conference and expo; let us reason together and seek the way forward to decongesting the city.
From my perspective as a Matatu driver and investor; there are solutions but they will require a lot of cooperation by concerned institutions. The objective should be to reduce traffic and not accommodate traffic. A reduction of traffic brings with it added positives – cleaner air, less noise, less stress-related disorders.
Promoting public transport is a necessary tool for achieving a reduction in traffic. The Government must spend its money incentivizing travel by public transport, increasing inter-connectivity of the various modes of public transport, increasing the number of trips, making them safe and “attractive” to every strata of society
When it is not safe for people to walk even over short distances, they result to using public transport. Many trips over these distances are undertaken by vehicles not as a choice but by force of circumstance. The largely avoidable use of vehicles for short-distance trips, which account for a significant proportion of all urban trips increases congestion, energy consumption and emissions, and renders walking, cycling, and public transit even more unviable. In short, planning for vehicles to the exclusion of other modes leads to even more motor vehicle activity and impacts.
We need to find a way of improving public transport services. We can do this if we make it sustainable and dependable.
If we build infrastructures that accommodate public service vehicles needs like bus stops, special lines for public service vehicles and easy access to bus stations, I believe we can make public transport a preferred and cheaper mode of mass transport.
The county governments of Nairobi can save taxpayers millions of shillings wasted in fuel, parking fee and medical care if they can use some of the large unutilized spaces within the CBD. Come up with A new plan, relocate some institutions and buildings to pave way for modern bus stations and build extra lanes for buses and Matatu in general.

 For instance, Kenya Railways occupies a large portion of unutilized/idle land: from Muthurwa all the way to Nairobi railways club on Ngong Road. The land extends to Uhuru highway near Nyayo stadium round about. On the Jogoo road side, we have Muthurwa bus park- but the access roads are poorly designed and never maintained.
 With proper planning, this land can provide link roads for PSVs to get to the city and to bus stations; we can absorb all matatus coming from Industry-area, Mombasa road- Langata Road- Ngong Road- Enterprise Road and Jogoo Road in to the train station; without interfering with the CBD.
.= The Ministry of transport must ensure that infrastructure and facilities for pedestrians (and cyclists) are incorporated as an essential component of all urban transport projects. Doing so would minimize the need for, and curb rapid growth in, motor vehicle activity, enhance the effectiveness of public transit and help achieve an urban transport system that is safe, cost-effective and that benefits all, including vehicle users.
= What is required for the core city is a comprehensive mobility plan which should be a combination of roads, public transport system, parking space, and pedestrians walk paths and introduction of alternative transport systems.
= Also, we need to come up with new training programs for drivers to educate them on driving skills and traffic regulations. Failure to observe traffic laws – over lapping- blocking exits/ entrances contribute to the congestion.
With the introduction of speed limiters/governors, we have seen fewer accidents and less fatal injuries in PSV sector; but the numbers have increased for non motorized road users. Groups such as young children, the elderly, the disabled, and the urban poor, who often have no choice but to walk or cycle, are particularly disadvantaged and at serious risk of being hurt or killed in accidents. Lack of pedestrian accessibility affects all, since everyone, including vehicle users, is a pedestrian at some point.

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Posted by on July 16, 2015 in Matatu matters


To own your dream car,,It’s all about knowing the right people..

IMG_20150616_135029[1]  IMG_20150616_135050[1]

First you need to buy a van.  it might not be the one you dream of owning- but if at all you really want to own one, you must first get one.

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Get a good mechanic. take it apart…. remove all the worn-out parts…

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The engine is the most important part of any car. give it a new life..over whole if necessary…

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visit the panel beater,,- watch as the van is dismantled..

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reinforce the support frame work.

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it’s now time to put it back together..

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Replace the control unit.. stability is key

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Comfort and style….


Add flavor….


Now you have your dream car….

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Posted by on June 30, 2015 in Matatu matters



Mrs. Brown is a Kenyan living and working in United Kingdom; she has plans to return home and settle here in the country sometimes in the near future. Despite owning a home here in the country, She feels the income she is getting from her rental houses in Nakuru is not enough to sustain her once she decides to come home. That’s where the idea of investing in the transport industry came to her mind.
She called our office around February and requested that i assist her in getting into the matatu business. she had made up her mind that she would try the transport sector. A week after she landed in the country, we began the search by visiting car bazaars to shopping for the right van. We sized quite a few, some good ones here and there, the price sounded right but they needed lots of paper work before the vans could be registered. There was not much time to go through all the process required for a matatu to get licensed by NTSA.

We opted to go for one already on the road. one advantage of buying a van already in the route is because It was easier to tell the condition of the vehicle and also what to expect based on what the owner is taking home. Another advantage  was the fact that the vehicle is already registered and certified by the National Transport Licensing Board it would only be a matter of transfer and renewal.

We were racing against time since she was to be in the country for under a month by which time we had to get the vehicle, comply with the entire legal requirements including transfer of ownership, Sacco registration, inspection and refurbishing the van. On the third day of our search- we found one van that fitted our budget and also had the features we were looking for- the negations started and a date was set for the change of hands. We had our mechanic at hand all during the search; he assured us that the van was maintainable

When the day finally came, payment was made, we bought the van during it normal daily routine. Our first stop was at the garage. Being a second hand van- we had set aside a certain amount out of the initial capital, to renew the vehicle. What we were looking for was the right image. The van was due for inspection in three months. Despite having a nice appearance we were not very sure about the mechanical state. 200k had been prepared for this task.
On the advice of our trusted mechanic, we bought a complete suspension system- steering, ball joints- shocks absorbers- brake system from the master cylinder to brake pads- idle arms, hand brake cable and finally brand new tires. Satisfied with the front parts, we turn to the rear suspension- the shocks were okay- we serviced the deferential, changed the transmission fluids- replaced the brakes lining and hydraulic cylinders and adjusters- leaf springs bushes, and again another set of brand new tires. It was now time for computerized inspection; this is where the vehicle is placed on various computerized machine that checks vehicle’s stability and wheels alignments-etc. most of the parts were new by now and that bridge we crossed.
We turned to the electrician- replaced broken lenses- bought new clips and connectors- rewired the dashboard to revive all signals and indicators. The next step was to check the safety requirements; we replaced broken seatbelts- bought a new first aid box and fire extinguisher – and reinforced the seats. We turned to the doors; serviced the locks, replaced worn out rubbers, bushes and winding machines. There was a small leakage at the rear end which allowed water to drip inside during heavy down pours; we decided to replace the entire boot door.
By now the van had acquired a new look and stability. It was time to check the engine; we had settled for this particular vehicle because our trusted mechanic had assured us that the engine was in sound working condition, nevertheless, we decided to give it new life. We changed engine oil, replaced air, oil and diesel filters, cleaned the radiator, added coolants and finally serviced the gear box system and added the required level of the transmission fluid. Now the van was ready to start providing transport services to the great people of republic of Kenya.
Only two things remained and these are the most import for our venture to be successful. The choice of the matatu Sacco and the crew; The Sacco provides the assistance acquired for a license from the Transport Licensing Board which allows one to operate in the route of choice. We had settled for route 125 Rongai- to – Nairobi. This route has five different Sacco societies. We visit three Sacco weighing out the advantages and what they had to offer in line with our business plan. We settled for the one with the widest coverage and better accountability. We paid the registration fee, bought cashless machines, paid taxes as required by the Traffic act, paid for change of TLB license and we were issued with the franchise to operate.
her flight back to work in UK was in a weeks time. for Seven days she watched her matatu competing for passengers in the busy Nairobi streets.

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Posted by on June 24, 2015 in Its life, Matatu matters


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Using ICT to address employment and safety in the matatu sector.

The use of new information and communications technology{ICT} has been applied in many ways in various fields to collect data, improve lifestyles and most important to avert disasters. Data collection for whatever reason is the first step to winning any warfare. We have seen modern ICT being used by our military as they battle terrorists in Somalia. The use of remote controlled drones for surveillance and even to launch missile attacks in high risk targets has become an effective tool of war with very positive result.
The same is happening in the public transport sector thanks to A group of Researchers from Nairobi university in collaborations with their counterparts in university of California at Berkeley in the US. The team has come up with a new technology that will probably provide a better approach that could be used to leverage the positive aspects of both the investors input; and workers performance; by providing reliable data that can be the key to improved safety, accessibility and efficiency.
David is a researcher from university of California at Berkeley USA and he has been in the country on several occasions for his research. I was introduced to David sometimes last year by one Professor from UON for a interview request. He wanted me to help him Access some of the stakeholders in the matatu sector for his research. When we started, David was more interested in monitoring and measuring corruption in the matatu industry. but after several meetings with drivers- conductors and managers- he soon realized, however, that the matatu industry is much more than a simple transfer of commuters.
This highly unappreciated industry is a fascinating expression of African entrepreneurship that has evolved into a multimillion investment; creating employment for more than a hundred thousand Kenyans and the only optional source of mobility {other than walking} for millions of people who rely on public transport every day. I teamed up with David and with a lot of support from university of California at Berkeley in America and our friends from university of Nairobi, we set out to clearly understand this vicious cycle that shapes the nature of public service operations in Kenya especially Nairobi.
According to our findings after numerous interviews with the stakeholders; majority of drivers complained of working long hours, and incentivized with high-revenue targets that they have to meet every single day. Lack of formal employment was also another obstacle for many workers {meaning no job security, no pay-slip, no insurance, no access to finance,} and therefore no stable career path to the middle class. They said they are rarely appreciated for their services despite doing their best.
Matatu owners on the other hand complained of driver’s recklessness and rude-mannered behaviors. Listening to majority of these owners, one would be persuaded to ask “why they even hire their vehicles to these drivers in the first place” if they don’t trust them at all. I know for a fact that this is just a myth and one that matatu owners have chosen to hold on to;since it is beneficial to them. by  avoiding taking full responsibility for their employees, they get away with paying taxable salaries and they can hire and fire them at will. Clearly, not all drivers are saints, and again not all drivers are reckless, what was lacking was prove..
David was more convinced that, the dispute; the hostility and suspicion could be addressed. We had identified miscommunication or lack of tangible facts as one of the sources of the problems. and by bridging the communication gaps; we could find a way to enhance the flow of factual information between the workers and the owners. According to him, a solution could be found with the introduction of new information and communication technology to the matatu sector.
We started out a pilot project codenamed “SMART-MATATU; where we fitted 10 Matatus {plying Rongai to Nairobi Route} with a top of the range and well supported Web- Based GPS Tracking device. This system offers wide range of Fleet Management Solutions that gives the matatu owners full control of their fleet and access to their vehicles from any location. Through a computer or smart mobile phone, the System enables the user to; know the vehicle’s real-time position by time interval, Receive alerts for off-road driving, over speeding, sudden breaking and various driving behaviors’ alerts. The system has a Geo-fenced control to regulate movement boundaries; it records the number of trips made to and from the destination and also kilometers covered at any given time.
Advantages v/s disadvantages.
Three months down the line, we have managed to sustain the project; though with lots of challenges. At the same time; we have also shared the findings and got feedback from matatu owners and drivers respectively. The project has had its casualties and beneficiaries. One driver and his conductor were fired when they were caught by police working past the hours; after lying to the owner that they had closed business. the crew abandoned the van but we were able to trace its location. This device is so unique compared to other tracking devices since it has specifically been designed to track driving behaviors; the owner can be able to tell at what time the engine starts running and when it was switched off, When a driver over speeds on speed bumps, exceed speed limits, overlapping, driving off-road or when he diverts to a different route.
On the other hand matatu owners are pleased with the device since they can now be able to know the actual number of trips the matatu makes to and from Nairobi and also compare driving style for different drivers. This will in the long run create trust and most important a better relationship between the owner and the workers. Some of the owners we interviewed told us that they would have no problem employing their drivers on permanent basis now that they know they can trust them.


Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Its life, Matatu matters


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Kenya’s matatu culture takes new shape.

The matatu industry has been the source of livelihood for hundreds of Kenyans and in different fields. The lifting of the ban on graffiti  by his excellency the president has brought out the best of local designers. Rongai is taking the lead in showcasing the best artists have to offer. here are some of our rides.


Posted by on April 16, 2015 in Its life, Matatu matters


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Frequently asked questions on matatu investment 2015.

1. >I saw your blog post on matatu business and you mentioned that you were setting up a transport management company. I would like to know if you have achieved this and if so if you have more information for investors?

We are in the final process of registering the transport management company; we have identified most of the challenges facing investors and we have come up with the strategy to address those issues. We are currently working with other saccos within Rongai route as unit managers, we are targeting to meet the recommended 30 units to get a license from the NTSA. So far we have managed to get 14 vehicles which we have fitted with a fleet management system/ GPS tracking and Cashless system. We pay between 3000 and 3500 for a 14 seater van and between 8 and 9000 for a minibus provided it meets the requirement for the current market. email us for more information. or call James- 0704 606730

2. >Thanx Wambururu for the good work you are doing and the responses you give. Am gonna be direct on this. I am set to join the matatu industry, i have a good manager who i believe will take my business forward . My manager has told me that we should focus on acquiring an ex tour vehicle, probably a DT Dobie Urvan. I have identified several on OLX , but my question is, How do i ensure that the vehicle is in a good mechanical position as the owners claim, what sort of inspection can i subject it to make sure that the engine, chasis and the body are in a good condition?
It is very tricky to get TLB for a 14 seater especially if the vehicle you plan to use has never been a matatu before- EX Tours are thought to be better but that is not a guarantee that they are always in good condition. Furthermore the choice of the make {Nissan /toyota} is very important and differs for different routes. Nissan is better and more efficient for short distance- town service routes while as a Toyota is best for long distance and hills. You need a good mechanic who is specialized in the model you wish to buy and follow his advice. A recently government -inspected van is an advantage.
3. >I have 2M .My home is in Ngong.I have been working outside country as a Mechanic and I am returning home.I can get financier and buy a 33 seater minibus I want the matatu to operate on route 111 or Kiserian route so that I can easily monitor it. I am mechanic and I can manage the repairs myself in my home. Kindly advice on whether my dreams are valid and the challenges I might face, and whether its advice able to take the risk.

You seem like a person who is set for matatu business and I would really encourage you to follow your dreams of owning a matatu or probably a fleet in future- You already have about 2million, a financer and a destined Sacco which is route 111 Ngong—Nairobi.
You also happen to be a skilled mechanic which is necessary and will reduce the maintenance cost; what you need is a crew especially the driver who understands the business and can safely take good care of your vehicles.
You also need a join a Sacco that has a fleet management system- GPS tracking and a cashless system. That way, you will be able to monitor your vehicle- know how many kilometers/ trips it has made- driving behaviors of different drivers etc.
4. >Hi Wambururu, am Kamau and much interested in owning a second hand matatu soon. I want to join a sacco whereby i would be saving 20,000 per month. In 7 months time i will have 140,000 then i would like to take a loan 5 times of my savings for me to have 700,000 to buy a second hand matatu. Now my question is does your matatu sacco offer such kind of services if not can you advice or refer me to any other matatu sacco.
Thanks in advance
Ours is a transport management limited company- we are registered under the registrar of companies act. However I work closely with matatu Sacco’s in Kajiado- Rongai Kiseria and Ngong; I know of one Sacco in particular that has been lending capital to drivers to buy their own vans as long as they remain with the Sacco. You need to first register for membership @ 5000 and then you start saving; they normally give 3 times your savings but I’m sure they can be very helpful in a situation like yours.

5. >I have been a good fan of your blogs. I would like to inquire about investing in the matatu business.
Is it possible for me to start with 00.ksh.. I mean, can I get a loan with the matatu as the security?

Nothing is impossible though some things are said to be next to impossible; most banks will not finance a matatu no matter how much you are willing to deposit. Different banks and financial institutions offer different packages on asset finance. The best way to get the facts is to talk to loan managers. I have seen adverts from Equity bank where they claim to finance up to 105%. One thing I know is that you need at least a six months bank statement and in case of financing a matatu, you need to have a very active business account or another matatu already on the road.

6. > Hi,your blog is really helping. Anyway I’m thinking on acquiring 2 brand new 33seater Isuzu from GM and put them through githurai 45 route.
Will the returns be good?
How are the saccos over there?
Please advice
Minibuses are taking over the matatu business though they have to face a stiff competition from the larger capacity buses. Githurai is popular with 51 seater buses and since they are in large supply, they easily handle the flow of passengers to a manageable level which strikes a balance between the price, demand and supply. Since matatu business is a trade like most businesses; where the law of demand and supply applies Githurai route does not offer the best investment opportunity. However tides are changing and passengers are shifting to vehicles with fewer capacity which are quick to fill and more comfortable.

7. >I have been reading these article and comments and just trying to make sense out of everything, what i would like to know is what to include in a proposal for getting a loan from an investor ,i know most of these comments are a bit out of date and probably the market has shifted a bit ,kindly can you advice on these matter as i am interested in getting my claws in these business .thank you for your consideration.
I have tried to cover this in question 5 above; nonetheless, I have to agree with you that the comments are a bit back dated but not much has changed on the ground. You will need to talk with your bank manager and see what they are offering then compare with what Sacco’s are giving.
8. >Thank you for your article, I invested in second hand a 51 seater bus being financed by my sacco but upto date i have not made any profit from it,it have consumed all my money but am optimistic ill make Sacco have been very supportive, they want to restructure the loan n be paying small installment, my question is?
1. my current job is not paying well and am not permanently employed, can i leave it and be going with the convinced i can get 8k per day.
2. Whats your take on repayment procedure.
You have not said how long you have had the bus and again which route you operate; this is very important and I believe it has a lot to do with your current situation. it is advisable to always keep the supply line open I.E. quitting your job might not be the smartest thing to do for now. There is a reason why your bus is not doing well/ making any profit- this may result from mechanical condition of the bus- crew- or even Sacco management among other factors. I would recommend you get a person you can trust to work with your bus and identify the cause of the problems.
If I got your second question correct- you want to know my take on the repayment procedure- I don’t know how much you owe the Sacco or whether you are paying a fixed interest or in a reducing balance basis. You can email me more details..

9. > Hi Wambururu, thanks for the great information you are providing on your blog regarding investing in the Matatu industry. I’m 22 yrs managing my own food delivery business in Nairobi, i was a rongai resident before i moved to South c,i save 4500 per day and i want to venture into the 33 seater matatu business by the end of the year. is it possible to approach a bank and what r the requirements..
Congratulation for the good work you are doing and a profitable venture indeed. You have an upper hand in getting financing from most banks if you are operating a business account. With your savings which I would estimate to be over 120,000 per month, you only need a six months bank statement- a deposit of 969.000 Kes, call this number for more info- 0722 140 378 Yvonne Mengo- sales team leader ACMG authorized ISUZU Dealer for GMEA.

10. >I have developed great interest for the matatu industry. And from the previous advise you’ve given other people I have decided to buy a second hand 33 seated instead of taking a loan. My route of interest is githurai 45 and I would like you to manage it for me. How much should I expect per day?
I’m not familiar with Githurai route; so, I can’t promise you how much I can raise in a day and also the condition of the second hand 33 seater minibus. If we estimate that you will get the vehicle at around 1.8M, I can approximate the same to bring home between 5—6,000Kes. This might not be the actual figures, like I said earlier; it will depended on the condition of the bus. Instead of a second hand minibus, I would recommend you buy two 14 seaters approximately 1.6m. They will each give you a minimum of 3500 Kes Daily that is 7000 per day.
11. >. I live in Kisumu and My most burning question is how much does a brand new 33 seater cost visa vis a second hand. I have 1.2M and am spoilt for choices to go for either a 33 seater or 14 seater, that is if am able to acquire the loan from NIC bank.
Secondly, am thinking of kisumu – busia rout (400/= one way, about 120km apart). Please show me some real (not ideal) calculations so as not to raise my hopes so high on profit margins.

Price for NQR 33 seater brand new and payment plan is as follows. The selling price for a 33 seater Isuzu NQR is ksh4,827,000.You are required to pay a deposit of ksh.968,400.The bank finance upto 80% at 8.7 flat rate. The monthly installment is ksh.135,265 for 3years.So the total interest adds up to ksh.1,007,000.
See 16 and 17 below for an actual {not Ideal} breakdown.

12. >Thanks a lot for such informative n educative thread….am planning to venture on matatu business but second hand.
Kindly advice the best matatu, Nissan to buy coz i hear kuna Toyota caravan n shark..And others..Which is best…all in all what one has to check to find if the matatu is good..coz i hear my friend bought one but after had an issue with number plate with kra.
There are two models of 14 seaters that are currently in the market and have been approved by the governing Authority. The Toyota 5Litre engine, diesel and Nissan caravan. Toyota 5L model is the most common even though it is no longer registered. The last of its type was manufactured in 2003 and that is over ten years ago. Our laws on importation of used vehicles limits up to ten years. This model is now replaced by a more modernized Toyota 7L Diesel: and custom made Nissan {box}.
As for issues to do with proof of ownership; you should first do a check/search at NTSA/ KRA- if you have any doubts, don’t buy.
13. >Hi Wambururu! I hve 1m cash and am interested in owning a 33 seater Minibus can i get a finance option frm a bank, which is the best Bank or institution ? Pliz advise.
Yes it is possible to get finance from banks as long as you can assure them that you are able to pay back the loan and also if you can afford the deposit. Most banks finance up to 70%. The tricky part is that you have to have operated a business account for minimum of six months showing deposits equivalent to the monthly installments. What I mean is; for a bank to give you a loan to buy a public service vehicle, you need to have an alternative income that can continue paying the loans in case the matatu breaks down.
14. >Thanks 4 wonderful teaching God bless question it is a good idea to buy 14 seater Toyota second hand about 250k to 300k replace with new egn + gearbox so that i can be on safe side in terms maintenance and how much do i need plz?
A new 5l engine for Toyota shark costs around 350,000 and the gear box costs about 50,000 – 60,000.If you were to give it a fresh coat of paint and probably some interior work, seats covers.\, belts, music system etc, you will need about 60—80,000. In total you will require approximately half a million shillings. Add this to the purchasing price and you end up spending about 850,000 KES.
15. >Hi Wambururu,
I really like your honest and informative answers.I would like to know how much (minimum] one may need to go for a loan for a 33 seater mini bus and where to start, is it GM or a particular Sacco or bank?
If I am new in Matatu business and i want to learn is it advisable to start with a second hand 14 seater or a 33 seater on financing?
For your first question on cost of a 33 seater, see answer for question {11} above.
And again i think you should start low. What I mean is, start with a 14 seater, run it for six months or so and understand the business, then you can decide whether you wish to invest in a 33 seater.

16. >I’m interested in investing in transport business. Toyota 5L used is my target, currently I can raise about 800k. My concern is, First I’m out of the country for a period of time and the management of this venture is dreadful to say the least. Second, my view is a long term investment by ploughing back the proceeds into the venture.. At certain point you mentioned about registering a venture to manage this profitable but highly risk business. Now in the view of these circumstances, what assurance do I have from you personally as a manager and confidant regarding safeguarding my interest..
It might appear like a high risk business but it is not such. Matatu investment is a public service provision business that has very good returns. Below is monthly review for a 14 seater.
KAY —–X. ———————————— 14 SEATER

  1st   2nd   3nd     4th         5th         6th          7th           TOTAL

3500   3500   3500   3500     3000     ——        2000         19.000
  8th    9th    10th    11th      12th        13th      14th
  3500   3500  3500   3000     3500       3300   3000         23.300
15th   16th   17th    18th      19th        20th      21st
1000   3500   3300   3500   3300       3500      2000        19.900
22nd   23nd   24th   25th     26th       27th       28th
    3500   3500   1000   3500   2500   3200      3000        20.200
29th   30th   31st.
….  2900    3500                                                          6 .400
TOTAL = 88.800
ALIGNMENT.= 1200                                REAF SPRING.=1500
BUSHES.=600                                       LABOR.=1500
WELDING REPAIR. = 1000                    WIRE/ COMPENSATION = 4000
PARKING KAJIADO.= 1500                    NOZZLES SERVICE .= 3000

TOTAL .= 32.500.00
GROSS INCOME .= 88.800.00
LESS EXPENSES= 32.500.00
NET INCOME= 56.300.00.
As your manager, I will be sending you a bank slip for the net income and also give you the breakdown. Alternatively, we can agree I be depositing a flat rate of 50.000 kes per month and take care of maintenance and all expenses, insurance parking, servicing and replacing minor parts.
17. >Thank you But is it a guarantee that they can pay up the loan on themselves because I have seen banks repossessing some of these buses and that might be a problem.. And on another note, is it advisable to take two 37 seater buses or put a deposit on a bigger bus and which Company/sacco would you advice..
Buses have high capacity and yes it is true they carry more passengers; but in matatu business especially short distance routes, they don’t attract more customers-pasengers still prefer low capacity vehicles that fill easily and are faster. Fare price also differs and by large margins.
A 51 seater bus plying nrb Rongai routes make four return trips in a day at an average fare price of 40 kes.{ 50 passengers X 40 Kes X 4 trips X 2 {return}= 16,000 Kes.
Fuel is = 4500-5000. Sacco contribution + police, touts, etc= 2,000, salaries= 3,000. Net income is about 6,000.
A 33 seater{ MANYANGA} minibus does 7 return trips at an average of 60 kes, ={ 32 passengers X 60 kes X 7 trips X 2 {return}= 26880.
Fuel is= 6,500—7,000. Sacco contribution+ police and normal expences = 4000. Salaries= 4000. Net income is between 10—11000Kes.

18. >Pls am from Ghana and i want to start a matatau transport business in Kenya. Pls i want to know if it is possible for a non Kenya can invest in the business. And how much is the Kenya shillings to one US DOLLAR. Thank u
I don’t think it would be a problem to invest { although I’m not sure about what the law says; but I know some foreigners who have bought rental houses and public service buses; as long as you are not the driver- you can surely invest in the industry and get your money at you bank just like anyother investor. One US Dollar is exchanging @ 90 KES. To put a brand new 33 seater minibus that meets the current market on the road, you will require about 59.000 US Dollars.


Posted by on February 20, 2015 in Its life, Matatu matters, Spiritual wisdom


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Let us make laws that we can implement and sustain.

Kenya is still ranked as a third world country. As much as We {Kenyans} don’t love or feel comfortable being referred as a 3nd world, we cannot escape this classification since it is not based on what we would wish’ but what we have done compared to other nations of the earth.
We may be building standard gauge railways and probably subways are on the way, Its true, these infrastructures will indeed; push us forward toward escaping the ratings, ease how we travel and communicate and make our country more attractive to other developed nations. But as it stands today we are still a 3nd world.
Our president is leading from the front and we all admire his confidence, we are encouraged by his determination to get us out of the woods, not only for us Kenyans but for Africa as a whole. His call for African solution for Africa’s problems is a pointer to finding lasting solutions to local problems in the continent and even here at home.
Since the Jubilee government come to power, law makers have been very busy making and amending laws. Almost every law in the constitution has been challenged, amended or changed; Media freedom, security, bills of rights, and” of course”  “Traffic act.”
I was among the invited participants to a discussion on the proposed amendments to section 42 of the traffic act {cap 403} this is an act of our traffic laws that deals with safety of children. The bill was tabled in parliament by honorable Member of Parliament for Laisami Joseph Kuton. The bill which is in its third reading in parliament and {according to Hon. Kuton} it will soon be passed to law if the president is okay with it.
The forum was organized by Kenya Alliance for Residents Association {KARA}; National Transport and Safety Authority {NTSA} and Columbia University center for urban Development Among other institutions. The speakers included the deputy Director of safety at NTSA Dr. Duncan kibogong; Institute of legislative affairs CEO Vincent Kimosop, center for sustainable urban development; Dr Jackie Kropp, the sponsor of the bill Hon. Joseph kuton and Kara director Dr. Henry … among others.
The amendments to this act seek to improve children’s safety within the boundaries of their learning institutions, and while on transit to and from schools and non school related activities. Majority of those in-attendances were very objective that this is the way to go. “When we were each asked what our individual expectations were, almost everyone including the media which was well represented was optimistic the bill should go through. On the other hand, I was a bit pessimistic.
I’ve heard it is said that; the devil is in the details.
Section 42 of the Traffic Act (hereinafter referred to as “the Principal Act”) is to be amended by inserting the following new subsections immediately after subsection (3)-

*(3A) A person shall not drive, or, being the owner or person in charge of a vehicle, cause or permit any other person to drive, any vehicle at a speed exceeding thirty kilometres per hour on any road within the boundaries of-
(a) A nursery, primary or secondary school;
(b) An institution where -children reside or normally access by children;
(c) A public playing ground which is normally accessed by children;
(d) An area used by children when crossing to and from school; or
(e) Any health facility.
A person who contravenes this section commits an offence and shall be liable to a fine of 50.000 KES or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 months or both.

I don’t have a problem with the speed limit; what I fail to understand is why? The act only prescribes a penalty or punishment to drivers and not to the Authorities responsible for ensuring that all the supporting infrastructures are in place before the law takes effect?

For instance; the act mandates the highway Authority to; erect and maintain traffic signs as prescribed in the Act so as plainly to indicate to drivers entering or leaving such roads or areas referred to under subsection (3A) where the thirty kilometers per hour speed limit restriction begins and ends;
They are also responsible for; electing, constructing and maintaining speed limiting road design features such as speed bumps or rumble strips, and traffic circles on the roads referred to under subsection (3A) at the areas specifically designated for pedestrian crossing or on any road within a built up area or any section of a road where forward visibility is short.
The highway authority should also Ensure that; traffic routes in the vicinity of nursery, primary or secondary schools and those giving access to the schools are planned, designed, equipped and maintained with safety features such as wide pavements, footpaths, cycle-tracks, roadside barriers, pedestrian crossings and underpasses and footbridges with appropriate signs and markings.

The absence of any of the above infrastructures can lead to violation of the act. I believe the highway authority or NTSA for that matter should also be held responsible and charged in court if an accident occurs or even when the said law is violated where they have not complied.

The other proposed amendment to the Traffic act is in section 1058.
(1) A person or institution shall not designate or use a vehicle for transporting children to and from school or school or non-school related activity unless the vehicle meets the prescribed standards. It gives the Cabinet secretary the overall responsibility of setting the prescribed standards
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (l), a vehicle designated for transporting children To or from school or for any non-school related activity when they are in a group shall be fitted with the prescribed child safety equipments! Design safety features or structures.
A person who, carries or permits another person to carry a child under the age of eight years, on board a vehicle shall ensure that-
(a) The vehicle is fitted with the prescribed child restraint device or Seat; and
(b) The child is always placed in the device or seat whenever on board a vehicle in accordance with the prescribed instructions or guidelines.
A person who being the owner, manager, teacher of a school or a driver of a used for vehicle transporting children, who authorizes or permits the use of a vehicle used for transporting children or is negligent to prevent contravention with this Act commits an offense and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding fifty thousand shillings or imprisoned for a term not exceeding two months or both.

This are the set of laws that every parent would wish to see passed; but as they say. Wishes are not horses, if they were, every beggar would own one.

If the proposed amendments goes through and become law, it will be illegal for a matatu to transport children. students are not among the matatu investors target group and  don’t think any investor will do anything about meeting the requirements or standards. And since Matatus do not meet the prescribed standards i.e. they don’t have child restraints or seats for children, it will be illegal to carry them.

What we need to first ask ourselves is; why do school going children use unsafe transport/ matatus in the first place?

In my observation as a matatu driver, majority of the school going children who go to school via public transport are those from free public schools. Quite a number of those are from the poor families who take advantage of free education and probably because those schools are quite a distance from home, the children must need transport. Most of these public schools don’t provide transport and that is where we as the matatu fraternity come in.
Matatus are probably the only affordable means/ option for majority of people in Kenya to travel long and short distances. This also includes the school going children who need to board Matatus to and fro school. We are the ones Head teachers call upon to provide transport to students during curriculum related activities like drama festivals, school trips, etc. and since the education ministry has not come up with alternative means of transport to meet this need, Matatus are left with the responsibility of providing the much needed services.
Kenya is a developing country which means, it does not have all the infrastructures or the means to sustain and fully implement this laws.


Posted by on February 2, 2015 in Its life, Matatu matters


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