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10 Annoying habits by matatu touts

By MERY NJOKI September 5th, 2015 2 min read

Some people were born to intentionally make other people’s lives difficult. If you use matatus for transport, you know that better than anybody else.

Judging by their behaviors, these conductors must have attended the same school. Save for a few who are courteous and respectful, the rest are cut from the same clothe; they all seem to have annoying habits that cut across the board.

Here are some of the most common of these irritating habits by matatu touts:

1. Itchy hands – Which lady has never had a tout touching on attempting touch her backside, waist or shoulders in the pretext of being ushered into or outside a matatu? They will run at you, grab you by the hand and tag you along to board their vehicle. The more brazen of their lot will even smack your backside!

2. Withholding change – There is that time when you are broke and remember all the time you have forgotten your change with conductors and you feel like going out looking for it. The moment you give these chaps a note exceeding the fare that is the beginning of your trouble. They will keep dilly dallying with your change and engage you in endless debates. To save yourself from this trouble, always carry some loose coins.

3. Bad odour/breath – The last thing you need early in the morning is a bad smell that could easily make you throw up in a matatu. It gets worse when someone with a bad breath attempts to strike a conversation using those tired hook-up lines; or they are stretching their hands to pick fare and you are hit by the pong of a sweaty armpit.

4. Rudeness – You ask him or her a question with utmost courtesy only to be bombarded with a barrage of insults and foul language. You are left wondering, did he rehearse in the morning what to tell me?

5. True lies – They tell you that they are going to a particular destination for a specified fare but the moment you step in, whatever he said previously becomes irrelevant.

6. Theft – Be warned, using your phone in some of these matatus isn’t such a great idea after all. Some matatu crew are known to collude with muggers and carjackers.

7. Penny wise – While they extort their passengers of thousands cash in un-returned change, think again if you thought they will waiver the fare when you accidentally forgot your wallet at home or at the office. You are doomed if a fellow passenger doesn’t come to your rescue!

8. Overloading – They’ll pack you like sacks of potatoes in a matatu and if you complain you are told to alight or buy your own car. The ‘Muchuki laws’ now seem like ancient history.

9. Loud music – You are struggling to make or receive an important call because the matatu is so loud, but don’t even bother to request the conductor to reduce the volume; your humble request will practically fall on deaf ears.

10. Kiendacho kwa mganga hakirudi… When an emergency cuts short your journey, your pleas to have as little as half of the fare refunded will be a waste of time. But the very moment you alight, another passenger will be ushered in and charged the exact amount of money you had already paid.