Monthly Archives: February 2017



“Do you own a 14 seated Matatu plying a Nairobi route? Then this is for you..”Poor collection of basic data by operators is probably the biggest challenge in effective management of Matatu business. Despite the numerous complaints from investors in the industry, Matatu Sacco’s often do not have sufficient information and a holistic understanding of their system in order to better advice investors on specific targeted improvements and growth of their resources.

Lack of professional and reliable management structures, tools, expertise and also failure by the institutions of the Government to provide guidelines on public transportation has hindered growth in this sector and has seen many investors lose millions of shillings through unprofessional business ethics.
Better information dissemination or sharing however, makes your business more efficient and easy to monitor. But most often, many a Matatu investor, ignore or don’t have ways or means to acquire the information they need or would wish to get in relation to their investments.

However, a group of researchers from the department of economics at the University of California, Berkeley {USA} is now testing a way to close this information void. The team is working together with Echo Mobile, a Kenyan technology company based in Nairobi to carry out a research in the Kenya public transport sector for academic purpose and with the possibility to make recommendations on optimal Matatu management.
The team has developed a phone app (SmartMatatu) that receives data from a a tracking gadget with the ability to monitor driving behaviors and vehicle’s location at all times. The device has been programmed to sends alerts to the vehicle owner/ managers of all unsafe driving behaviors like; over speeding, over braking, driving off-road and hard turning. The app has been designed to connect with the gadget and users can access it immediately to track their vehicle’s location, mileage and safe driving, among others.
Unsafe driving costs money either in court’s fines for violation of traffic laws or increased repair cost and also endangers the lives of passengers and other road users. By tracking your vehicle in real-time, you will be able to know for a fact how your employees behave on the road. You’ll know when drivers are unsafe and also track the productivity of your investment by getting firsthand information on the distance travelled compared to money earned}. You receive SMS alarms when the driver is unsafe and also {on request} get a summary at the end of the day on each driver’s safety record.
The program was started earlier last year in route 125 Ongata Rongai- Kiserian matatus. A total of 10 Matatu vehicles were fitted with the Tracking device and we have been monitoring, collecting and sharing the information with the owners and at the same time, making improvement to the device to accommodate the feedbacks we receive from participants on what is of importance and necessary information they would want to know about their vehicles. The program has been a success and now, we want to expand and offer more drivers the opportunity to be selected to receive the same services at no cost.
We are looking for volunteers to register for a lottery to be selected for participation in the full-scale trial, with up to 250 matatus through the end of the year. Of the owners who register, some will be randomly selected to receive a device and access to the SmartMatatu application for the remainder of the year. This will come at no cost, but in exchange for the submission of short daily reports on performance, earnings and expenses so that the research team can understand how tracking can be improved and made effective to optimize the Matatu business.
Other randomly selected owners will not receive the SmartMatatu app, but will receive a free mobile phone in exchange for having a device installed and for submitting the same daily survey submissions. All selected owners will also be paid a small amount for daily reports. Owners wishing to be considered for participation are requested to register for the lottery by sending an SMS with the title….OWNER to 20788… and respond to each question in the survey. Whichever group owners are selected for, any information shared or retrieved by system will be used for research purposes and shall not be shared or availed to a third party. Send an SMS now to register for consideration!

For more information, comment below or e-mail

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Posted by on February 27, 2017 in Its life, matatu investment, Matatu matters


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