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Worst matatu saccos in Nairobi

Love them or hate them, matatus are part and parcel of the Kenyan urban culture. There is the good, the bad and the ugly side of matatus, but often it is the ugly side of matatu operators that most Kenyans have become accustomed to.

Here’s a compilation of the worst PSV sacco’s in Nairobi, in no particular order:

Umoinner (Umoja- Town) – They are so notorious for flouting traffic rules and causing accidents that whenever a matatu operating along Jogoo road causes an accident, the blame is often laid on Umoinner since the sacco claims to ‘own’ Jogoo road.

Early this month, a man was squashed to death in Umoja Innercore estate by a matatu from this fleet under what still remains unclear circumstances.

But by far the worst accident involving Umoinner matatus was in October 2013 when a dozen lives were lost after a matatu belonging to the sacco was hit by a train in Mutindwa near Buruburu.

The government temporarily suspended the operating license of the sacco. Little wonder some area residents have christened matatus from this sacco ‘Umokiller’.

Embassava (Embakassi-Town) – Who can forget Embassava touts did to a young lady in November 2014 in the CBD for what they termed as ‘dressing indecently’?

It is from the barbaric actions of the touts that the phrase “My dress, my choice” found its way into the Kenyan lingo.

Even in the wake of a public uproar and all-round vilification, all the authorities did was to suspend the matatus for a few days.

And in June this year, the National Transport and Safety Authority banned the sacco from operating for a week after the sacco’s drivers were accused by the authority of breaching traffic rules.

This was in the wake of accident in which a driver from the fleet was deemed responsible for the fatal accident on Jogoo road that killed one person on the spot. They have since been rebranded to ‘Drips’.

Nairobi City County askaris confront Embassava bus operators in this photo taken on October 2, 2014 along Tom Mboya Road. PHOTO | DAILY NATION
Nairobi City County askaris confront Embassava bus operators in this photo taken on October 2, 2014 along Tom Mboya Road. PHOTO | DAILY NATION

Kenya Mpya (Thika-Town) –  Buses from this sacco have also been in the news for all the wrong reasons notably road accidents.

On Thursday a bus from this fleet lost control and rammed into the back of a truck which was packed by the roadside.

It could purely be a case of unqualified staff or just downright disregard for the highway code.

Forward Travellers (Kayole-Kariobangi-Town-Gikomba) – There is this joke amongst commuters using Jogoo route that the “safest” matatus to board on that route are from the FT fleet since all crooks from Eastlands use them, hence the risk of them being carjacked or mugged by other crooks is minimal.

But carjackings and muggings aside, the reckless manner in which these matatus are normally driven is anything but safe.

To FT touts there is no such thing as conforming to passenger capacity. The filth inside most of these matatus is revolting to say the very least.

But worst of all is the abrasive attitude of the touts and drivers who don’t give a hoot about run over other motorists and road users.

A matatu from the Forward Travellers sacco that ply the Jogoo road route. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE

45 Githurai (Githurai-Town) You’ve guessed it, they are from Githurai, and from the speed they are driven you will think they have a deadline.

The touts will practically beg you to board their vehicles but when you reach your destination they will literally throw you out of the moving vehicle.

Yet, if they see someone who wants to board the matatu they will stop in the middle of the road and do it without any care of the motorists behind them.

Orakise Sacco (Kiserian-Rongai-Town) – This is another notorious sacco which operates between CBD to Rongai and Kiserian. They claim to come from the diaspora and own Langata road.

The matatus are carelessly driven, the touts overcharge the passengers are responsible for many accidents along the route.

They will stop and pick passengers anywhere on the road and in so doing create traffic snarl-ups that inconvenience other motorists.