Swahili in Kenya

Local Bus Transportation

Tickets are bought on the bus, and one can also purchase passes at the main bus station. Passes may be sold at various terminals, but it is best to get them directly from the bus station. Sellers at the terminals may raise prices or sell fake passes. Always ask for identification before buying a pass on the street. Buses generally only stop at specified bus stops. Since it is not uncommon for the buttons on the bus to be broken, one must observe how other passengers let the bus driver know that they want to get off – i.e. banging on the window, etc. Some routes have buses that run throughout the night; otherwise, buses start up at about 5:00 a.m. and run until about 2:00 a.m.

An alternative to the bus is a public vehicle called a matatus, a privately owned minivan that also travels set routes. Unlike a bus, one can hail a matatu and ask to be dropped off anywhere along the route. One pays the conductor according to the distance one travels. Although the rates vary according to the season and time of day (rates increase during the rainy season and at night especially after 9:00 p.m.), the fare is always relatively inexpensive. Matatus generally have a driver and two conductors. The conductor will let the driver know when you need to get off.