Coastweek website



Kachumbari presents his 'second step'
in the evolution of Kenya Public Transport 

Coastweek -- Last week we suggested simple low cost opportunities for improving the congestion in the cities occasioned by the unruly and raggle-taggle way the matatus and city buses currently operate, writes TETI KAMUGUNDA.

The opportunity was to simply ban the waiting by matatus at any point on the route they ply and to provide terminuses on the outside of the city or town areas where they would rest before going back to pick passengers.

They would also park there when there was no work.

They would only be allowed to pick passengers at designated spots (what are commonly called bus stops) and any pick up outside of those areas would be punished very heavily.

The passenger(s) picked up away from bus stops would also face the wrath of the law. Implementing this in addition to the Michuki Rules would bring a lot of sanity back on to our roads.

There are obviously several behavioural issues that would have to be sorted out as well – such as the propensity to weave in traffic and overlapping in slow traffic or in traffic jams.

The aggression showed by the drivers can also be tempered through better policing and also holding their managements to account.

We now present the second step in the evolution of public transport.

The next big thing that will ease jams in our cities is to gradually phase out the fourteen and thirty two seater buses and go to the larger buses typically double decker and articulated buses.

These can carry up to one hundred passengers or more if properly designed.

There would also be a need to change the law so that the requirement for seatbelts for every passenger in a public service vehicle can be waived.

In the more mature economies where bus commuter transport is well established, the requirement to have seat belts in public transport is removed by having all high capacity buses which have more passengers standing that sitting fitted with speed governors that limit their speed to fifty kilometres an hour and their brakes operating in such a way that the diver cannot bring the vehicle to a very abrupt stop.

This will obviously require specially designed buses and drivers with the right temperament to operate them within the bounds and also be extremely defensive in their driving so that they minimise the likelihood of sudden stops.

By the authorities approving the right type of high capacity bus they can then start a process of converting all matatus to these buses.

The biggest challenge to this is the mentality that we have with our current matatu operators.

They are used to owning and controlling all the vehicles and using the SACCOs only as advocacy and lobby bodies.

It is like becoming a member of a cooperative only for its voice but not for the opportunities it represents.

The law should be changed such that any public transport in major urban areas will be run by registered bus companies which will own and operate the buses.

This is going back to the early years in Kenya and will also put us right in the current age because most cities in the world are run on a similar model.

There should a transitional period which will allow the matatu SACCO members to dispose of or change the service of their current vehicles.

They SACCOS should be changed to become transport companies and the current members who own matatus should become shareholders in the SACCOs.

This transition should be targeted to take place over one year.

After the one year, no more small matatus and buses will be allowed to operate as or offer public transport but would only be available for spot hire or commercial hire for specific events and organisations.

They can also be operated as specific transport for companies that provide transport for their staff and so forth.

This will allow the rebirth of the fourteen and thirty two seaters for a different but more competitive and controlled business model.

So in a nutshell – change law to prescribe high capacity buses for the urban transport and also the specifications required to make them safe.

These will be the only ones allowed for now.

Change all current organisations involved in bus transport (SACCOs and franchise agencies) to bus operating companies who take all responsibilities and risks for the business.

Give the current matatus and buses one year to change their business models after which all licenses for inner city commuter services that have been given to individual operators will be withdrawn and given to the new bus operating companies.

In the one year that the matatus are being run down, the bus operating companies can ramp up their operations so that there is a seamless transfer from one mode of transport to another.

It is only after this transformation or during this change that the Bus Rapid Transit system can be implemented as the operators will be well versed in what to do and all they will need will be the bus only lanes and route allocations.

This will be the third evolution in public transport and even this has to be done in stages.

In this way we will progress to easing the congestion and jams in our inner city by reducing the number of vehicles on the load.

Each fully loaded bus that works efficiently will take some fifteen or so vehicles off our streets during peak hours once the public trusts the connectedness and punctuality of the buses.

As Kachumbari says, a country should not prove how developed it is by the number of poor people who buy cars but by the number of rich people who use buses!




Ink Had Barely Dried On Governor’s Pronouncement When He Had To Rescind His Decision On Matatus 

To Make Kenya A MICE Destination We Have To Improve Road Mobility 

Graffiti - A Great Feature of Matatus Is Being Replaced Gradually With Simple Caricatures 

The Relative Costs Of Road Safety In Kenya Should Not Be An Issue Or Even Discussed 

An Awkward Encounter As Diplomatic Air Hostess Sorts Out Difficult Mile High Club Grope Situation

People Always Look Around Them At Regular Intervals - Because That Is How We Are Made

Confused Clergyman Caught Up In Nairobi Self Serving Soap Drama ...

Road Planning Should Extend Beyond Our Borders And Into Countries Within East African Community

All Our Airports Disappoint In One Way Or Another ... My Biggest Beef Is The Toilets

Seat Belt Requirements Are Never Simply Gimmicks: They Are Potentially Lifesaving

Upgrade Of Roads From Both Mariakani And Mazeras To Kilifi Will Radically Improve North Coast Access Options

Drivers Are Living In Interesting Times With Return Of Boys In Blue Together With Their 'Breathalysers'’

Driver’s Worst Nightmare - Parking In Restricted Space With A Queue Of Hooting ‘Know Nothings’

Parking Dilemna: When The Lady Driver Decided To Go Ahead With What She Had Been Avoiding!

‘Safeboda’ From Uganda Has Been Recently Launched In Kenya After Very Successful Trial

Yes, Green Cities Need Trees And Plants But Watch Out What Happens With Roots

The Law Of Unintended Consequences And Unexpected Paternity In A Foreign Country!

Our Policy Heads Need To Fully Consider The Human Cost to Continuing Coast Demolitions

Corruption: Only Time Will Tell Who The True Sons Of This Nation Are?

An Unlucky Visitor Caught Up In The CBD, Hard To Find A Toilet

Business of Public Lavatories leaving a bad smell in the air

We Need A Radical Changes To How We Manage The Important

We Need To Completely Re-Examine How We Manage Our Public Transport

‘Boda Boda’s Done Right Could Be An Important Carriage System

Anarchy Is Never Solution To The Very Real Danger From Massing

Gazzillions - There Was Probably Some 100 Plus Million Shillings Involved Here

Where To Park Cattle, Horses, Donkeys, Yaks, Llamas, And So Forth ...

Most Drivers Treat Matatus With Caution And Daring Matatu Drivers Love This!

Even Seemingly Difficult Interventions Can Often Reap Welcome Results

Agencies Who Manage Disaster Need To Seriously Review Both Operations

Motorists Must Face Up To Dangers Of Submerged Hazards

Flooding: The Drainage Is Clogged - Most Have Not Been Cleaned For Years!

Creative Painters Have Turned Kenya Vehicle Art Into A Sophisticated Industry

Most Of The Coastal Tribe Of Matatu Is Of The 14 Seater Body Type

Matatu Apps. No Longer Act As Exhaust Brake Components

SACCOs were seen as a first step in getting sanity back

In Western: Matatus Driven Mainly By Function

Just Focussing On Enforcing Existing Laws For Six Months - Major Change?

My Adventure In A Busia Matatu On its Way To ‘Kisumu International’ Airport!

Some One Hundred Plus Officers Taking Bribes Were ‘Sacked’

Popular Slogan Harambee Is Always About Raising Money

Visitors Marvel At The Cleanliness Of Kigali City and even over Rwanda

Police Appear To Recognise Motoring Novices Breaking The Law!

Kenyan Traffic Bribes: System Should Begin To Operate Smoothly

Road accidents cost us three hundred billion Kenyan shillings yearly

Authorities Should All Jump In To Solve Driving Woes In This Country

Drivers Who Fail To Remove Road Rubbish Once Vehicle Is Repaired

Examination Methods Now Used To Teach Driving Needs an Overhaul

Most Sane Drivers Fear Every Time A PSV Appears Near Their Vehicle

Attempt To Level Playing Field During Political Campaigns Rubbished

Kenya Bus Service Went Bust Due Onslaught Of The Matatu Industry




Remember: you read it first at !

  This year’s rally will be
flagged off at Sarova
Whitesands on November
23rd and finish at the same
venue on December 1st.


Please contact

MOMBASA - GULSHAN JIVRAJ, Mobile: 0722 775164,
Tel: 0731 099309 / (+254) (41) 2230130 / Wireless: 020 3549187

NAIROBI - ANJUM H. ASODIA, Mobile: 0733 775446 / 0773 468786

    © Coastweek Newspapers Limited               Tel: (+254) (41) 2230130  |  Wireless: 020 3549187  |  E-mail: