Experiences

How To Ride A Matatu For the First Time With the Confidence of a Local

Transport can encourage hefty costs, the cheapest way to get around is through matatu or public transport, this can range from ksh 10-100 on the higher side if you’re moving within Nairobi. 

It’s cheap and a fantastic way to get to know how locals live everyday life, and it could get you to your destination by paying almost next to nothing. Plus as a traveler, you can one day impress a friend by telling him/her the story of how you once rode a matatu in Kenya.

image: twitter.com

However, immediately you give the bus conductor any idea that you are foreign, you might end up paying more bus fare than you need to.

1. Approach the matatu and ask the conductor if the same is going to the right place, and where you’d like to be dropped. Better yet, there are ussually posters or boards indicating where matatus are going, if you see where you’d like to be situated you can just enter, however, its always good to confirm first.

2. After that, enter and wait for the ride to begin. Don’t use your phone too close to the matatu window while the vehicle isn’t moving, because it could get easily stolen.

3. Once the vehicle commences it’s journey, the conductor will start demanding money, ask the person next to you the actual price to be paid, another customer would be more sympathetic to you whereas the conductor may take advantage of  your ignorance, and make you pay extra costs.

4. Finally, tap at the conductors shoulders, indicating at him to drop you off once you’ve reached your destination, and make sure to get out quickly as matatus drivers tend to be impatient.

Just like that you’ve experienced transport in the life of a local.