Monday, September 21, 2009

The Art of Matatu Driving – Part I

For all those aspiring learner drivers out there desperately wishing to gain their fortune driving a Mathree, i thought i should publish you a series of tips on how to make it in the driving world if you want to be taken seriously.

Stage ONE: As soon as you have taken possession of said vehicle;

a) Disable the speed governor – it is only installed in order to get the mat through inspection and is quite an unnecessary feature on your vehicle now;
b) Disconnect the brake lights – you don’t want anyone behind you knowing you’re going to stop for goodness sake, that would take all the fun out of it for those drivers following you on the road;
c) Remove one half of all of the seat belts – preferably the side where they should buckle in as the passengers can just drape the one side on their laps for effect and taking out the other side means less weight in the vehicle, and also for those who don’t actually have a seat, it means sharing lap straps with the neighbour is much easier, which of course is essential if you’re going to get those extra peeps in.
d) Have MOLOLINE painted on the front of your vehicle so that the traffic cops let you through without blinking, but do make sure you’re travelling at least at 110kph as you approach any police check or they’ll realise you’ve faked the sign

Stage TWO: Get it on the road;

a) Put enough fuel to get you to the stage from which you want to start your pick up service – preferably right outside your parking spot so no fuel is needed, and then save the rest of any spare cash you have on you to pay to the mungiki at the terminus to help you through living to the next day.
b) As soon as you can persuade some passengers to get in – usually nicely done with a lot of noise and a small bit of threatening about how you know where they live and you have “friends”should do it – collect some cash and then send one of the prospective peeps down to the nearest petrol station to get yourself a kasmall kibuyu of fuel to get you out of the stage and onto the main road. When you run out of fuel in the middle of the highway it seems people are so much more co-operative about shelling out their cash for fuel in a hurry.

Stage THREE; Now you’re moving, these are critical manoeuvres that should be followed at ALL times;

a) Remember never to pull over to pick up passengers, and do NOT use designated bus stops at any time – these are for buses! If you see someone standing on the side of the road, flash your lights, beep the horn and then stop dead in the middle of the road and shout for them to get in.
b) If you see more people 50 metres up the road, don’t stress, floor it and then jam the brakes on 50 metres up the road to make sure you pick them up to.
c) Continue this procedure every 50 metres or so until the mat is jam packed. All seats must be full, floor space taken and at least 3 people should be hanging out the door before you should even think about heading towards wherever these suckers want to go. You’ll have them so tightly jammed in now that they won’t have a choice but to stay with you now!
d) Always remember to indicate to the right if pulling over left or if seeing hot chick on right that you need to then stop and harass.

Finally do some serious protesting to get this new chap out and our man Hussein Ali back in so Michuki rules stay out!


Pernille said...

Cool post!

KenyaChristian said...

c) Remove one half of all of the seat belts
lol, so true...every time I check they only have the belt and not the buckle.

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noone said...

hehe, very true and very funny

Anonymous said...

I just bumped into your site. Very informative. I shall become a follower. Keep it up

Anonymous said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

snoop said...

where've you disappeared to?

Anonymous said...

Here is a happy 1st anniversary since your last post ;D

DialMoviez said...

Haha!Did you take a practical lesson?
I have noted mats can pick you up anywhere....absolutely anywhere,but you can only alight at the stage!

Love your blog!

Expat Arrivals said...

Hmmm...VERY reminiscent of the minivans in SA. On another note, I'm the editor of Expat (, a site devoted to easing expat transitions abroad. I'm wondering if you'd be interested in sharing some of your insight and helping us to better develop our Kenya guide. You can email me direct at I look forward to hearing from you.