Having lived in Nairobi for almost twenty years now, I have had different experiences with matatu Saccos while commuting through the different routes that lead in and out of Nairobi.
To be quite honest, the majority of the experiences I have had with matatus in Nairobi have been terrible, annoying and very frustrating.
Matatu Saccos are associated with chaos, loud music, reckless driving, and unprofessional conductors. Nonetheless, there is always a silver lining to every cloud because, despite the countless bad experiences I have had with matatus, there are a few that have actually impressed me.
Here is a list of matatu saccos I consider the most disciplined and safest to use in no particular order:
Super Metro (Nairobi-Kikuyu-Juja)
Parked along Maragua Lane, next to the Kenya National Archives, these buses are, in my opinion, the best matatu saccos that commute along Waiyaki way and Thika Road, towards Juja.
This evident in the long queues you will find near the bus stop especially during those rush hour moments. Despite having other numerous PSV Matatu Saccos operating in those routes, most people prefer to use the Super Metro buses.
The Sacco is also very adamant in regulating the fares, come rain or sunshine. It even has a Facebook page where you can interact with the management.
Having lived in Roysambu for four years, I must admit that this Matatu Sacco really impressed me.
Parked along Tom Mboya Street, these matatus are usually incredibly clean, the conductors are very disciplined, always dressed in the Zuri Sacco uniforms and display admirable work ethic.
The Matatu Sacco has no reputation for causing road accidents and the conductors always make sure you get your change before alighting.
Trips in these matatus also very relaxing since they are known to play very calming gospel music in the evenings and mornings.
Similarly, you will find a long queue of commuters waiting for the Zuri buses despite there being other matatus plying the same route.
River of God Sacco is known to play pure gospel music during morning hours and in the evening to soothe tired Nairobians headed to work or when going to work in the morning.
I used these matatus for over one month when my mother was admitted to the Metropolitan hospital in Buruburu.
I never knew I could socialize with touts and drivers until I used ROG matatus. They value their customers and make you feel very important.
I remember not knowing where the hospital was and the conductor made sure I was dropped off on the right stage where I could get to the hospital with convenience.
The Sacco also has an active Facebook page that allows commuters to interact with its management.
I travel to Kasarani quite often owing to the fact that most of my very close friends live there. The Kasarani route is associated with theft of property by matatu staff, rowdy conductors and extremely loud music.
This is, however, not the case with the MSL Sacco because cases of theft and pickpocketing by the matatu crew are uncommon and most of the matatus in this Sacco hardly play any music.
You will know that it is a good Sacco and loved by many commuters from the long queue of passengers waiting for the next available matatu, yet right across the road touts of matatus from a different Sacco plying the same route are shouting themselves hoarse calling for passengers.
These matatus are parked along Tom Mboya Street next to the Zuri Sacco matatus.
Walokana Sacco (Town-Kabete-Kitisuru-Westlands-Wangige)
Peace and more peace is how I would describe this Matatu Sacco. Despite the matatus being a bit old, you will rarely have a situation where you will be displeased by the matatu staff.
The matatu crew will always oblige to stop the vehicle at designated stages and most of the matatus on this route don’t play music.
The matatus are parked on the entrance of Koja bus station and others in Ngara bus station.