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How Matatus Make Money: Nairobi Driver Gives Insights of Making the Most Out of this Ksh 10 Million Investment

Kenyans love to despise matatus.

Whether it’s the loud touts, the drivers’ awful road etiquette or the lack of comfort, there’s always something to complain about on public transport.

However, despite some matatu crews being rowdy and ungovernable, Kenyans also need matatus everyday to move from one point to another.

But someone might wonder, how do matatu owners make money and how much do they cash in per day? Here is what WoK has managed to dig up.

Recently, a local media station, did an interview with a matatu driver, Lenny, who gave insights on how the matatu industry works.

Lenny drives a matatu nicknamed Ben 10 which he says he is proud to be driving, also mentioning that there are levels to matatu driving.

In an interview with NTV, he explained that he started driving normal matatus before moving to the more classier vehicles.

“It’s not something easy, you must be patient and go through the different levels. I didn’t start here, I started by driving other small matatus which helped me gain experience,” he said.

Lenny explained that he works from 5AM to 10PM when he does the final trip of the day before he returns the matatu to a designated parking.

Additionally, he mentioned that his vehicle consumes between Ksh 15,000 and Ksh 16,000 worth of fuel every day.

“What makes me happy about my job is the fulfilment I get from taking someone to work in the morning and back home in the evening on time. That makes me happy,” he stated.

To achieve this, Lenny noted that he relies on Google Maps to know the routes that have minimal traffic jams, making it easy for him to get his customers to their respective destinations on time.

“Every morning and whenever I want to start a trip, I must check which route has minimal traffic as it makes everything easy for me,” he said.

From where Lenny operates the matatu from, he has acces to an array of technology including CCTV cameras showing what goes on inside the matatu.

His matatu is also fitted with cameras outside, including the back area which comes in handy when he wants to manuever in the event he is caught up in a traffic jam.

Lenny also has access to a gauge that shows the performance of batteries that powers the TVs and music system inside the matatu.

The matatu is also fitted with an inverter which converts the power from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC).

According to Dennis Makao, who runs a vlog called Pride of Embakasi, a matatu like Lenny’s costs at least Ksh 10 million or more.

Body-wise, Makao said an investor will part with at least Ksh 6.7 million but the additional costs come with fitting the matatu with new bumpers, lighting and entertainment.

He added that the owner of the matatu makes Ksh 13,000 or Ksh 14,000 per day on weekdays and at least Ksh 10,000 on weekends.