The Perils of a Nairobi Commuter.

The Perils of a Nairobi Commuter.

I woke up early enough to ensure I got to my destination in time for the 8:00 a.m. appointment. I hurriedly took my breakfast, faster than usual but enough to save me an energy reserve for the toughening and long journey ahead of me as a Nairobi commuter. All of us are commuters and I can tell we have a wide array of personal experiences. Mine might not be unique but I believe I should share them as a show of solidarity to every soul that suffers under the disguise of survival.

Traveling on these Nairobi routes and especially when using public service vehicles can be overwhelming at times. For instance two days before this morning I am yet to describe, I left from Kiambu somewhere along the Northern bypass at 4:00 p.m. with an intent that I could make it to Kariobangi Light industries by about 5:30 p.m. With my friend, we boarded the next available bus from Four Ways Junction and arrived in Muthaiga after several stop overs.

At Muthaiga, we struggled to get a vehicle that could take us directly to our destination and for fear of missing our coveted appointment with a service provider we so much needed to meet, we hopped into an already full vehicle and headed for Allsops.

Somewhere on the way some young man, I am obliged to call him young because he was young physically but his bald head and use of the bottle made him look old, interested me. He started shouting that his destination was in Kawangare and he was surprised to be travelling on Thika road instead of Waiyaki Way. He started forcing the tout to take him back to town and even as far as Kawangare. Requests to him to try and sober up and stop messing with the tout proved futile and he started to abuse the tout together with her crew.

In no time a male colleague of the female tout ascended blows and kicks on the man and refunded the guy his little fare from Muthaiga where he had boarded the vehicle and had him alight. The kicks and blows were heavy and ended up sobering the guy a little. He left quiet and a gentleman at the same time. I wish he had learnt the rules of commuting in Nairobi. You can never win it with a matatu tout especially if he owes you nothing. I arrived in my destination past 7 p.m.

Back to my morning, two days after this incident. I arrived in town and decided to board a bus to Karioabangi again en route Huruma. There are two routes mostly with one going through Thika road and the other one via Easleigh to Rounda on Outering with some vehicles diverting to Huruma. This morning the difference in fare was ten shillings and I decided to save that by casting lots with the Huruma route.

Commuting in Kenya and Africa at large is a hectic adventure like this Jam in Lagos Nigeria. Photo Courtesy of

The engine started after the vehicle taking like forever to fill up and off we started out journey. It was a journey for sure. The vehicle veered along the road and by the time we were in Easleigh, the music blaring matched the creaking and shaking of the vehicle especially when going over bumps. Then we left the main road and the driver decided to evade jam by going through a nightmare small road full of all the pot holes you could imagine. I used pot holes for lack of a better word to perfectly describe the situation.

This vehicle seemed to have a rich experience with these roads because it just jumped them making us lose contact with our seats. Cumulatively we sat only half the journey with the rest of the time being tossed in the air.

I tried thinking about this vehicle’s age mates and all I could imagine is that most if not all of them had been sold as scrap metal or were rusting away in some yard along Jogoo road or some estate in Eastland. In fact I gave her a name, Florence. She was full of problems like Hurricane Florence.

I arrived for my appointment half an hour late. Surprising enough, with all those painful experiences of a start of a day, the individual I was going to see had not arrived. This thing to do with being an African and our time is wrong. So I had to wait for another thirty minutes before we could meet and iron out the issues we had for the day.

Once done, I had another journey to make but this time through the Thika road route. Funny enough, a slightly better Florence came along but couldn’t carry me at a lesser cost now that I was alighting at Muthaiga. My mathematics and those of the tout friend of mine could not integrate. Left with no choice, I walked all the way to Allsops.

By the time my main work for the day was starting, it was about eleven thirty in the morning. I discovered that yes, this roads are full of madness and all snares unimaginable. I said the roads and also their Florences too. It thus makes sense whenever someone comes home tired and like a log throws themselves to bed dead tired. Most of the time, about fifty percent of that is as a result of the perils of commuting on these Nairobi roads.

If anyone can make it with patience in this Nairobi travels especially in PSV’s then I believe they can make it anywhere in the world. If you wish to learn patience at its best, start enjoying commuting in the city instead of resenting. You won’t forget the way-marks of life any time soon.

Cheers to all compatriots who toil and moil daily amidst the perils around travel within the green city on the tropics.


Copyright @ 2018.     

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege is the Editor and topical contributor for the Daily Focus. He writes in the areas of Science, Politics, Policy, Technology, Current Affairs, Opinion, Agriculture, Energy, Education, Entrepreneurship, Governance, International Emerging Issues, Society, and culture. For featuring, promotions or support write to us at

4 thoughts on “The Perils of a Nairobi Commuter.

  1. Interestingly, this will not change in next decade given the crop of leaders we elect. When was the English underground made? We seem to miss out on strategic planning implementation. Even newbies like the UAE have acknowledged that train services are essential in public commutation.

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