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Mbukinya Buses: Owner, Management, Routes, Charges & Faulty Hino Buses Crisis

Mbukinya is a public service transport company with its head offices at Landhies Road, Starehe, Nairobi County.

The bus company is among the oldest transport service providers in the country, having plied major routes in the country for about 4 decades.

Mbukinya comprises of a huge fleet of buses, over 40, boasting models from various bus manufacturers.

Over the years, the company has stayed competitive, offering passenger and parcel services to major routes, and over long distances, while offering competitive services in the process.

Owner

Mbukinya buses are owned by Paul Mburu Muthumbi. He was born and raised in Limuru and is now 87.

The businessman’s journey to the top is one to behold. While a student in secondary school, he would tell his peers that he will be a successful investor in Kenya’s transport sector, but they would dismiss him.

Buses that passed through his village amazed him, and he developed a passion for the sector. He told his friends that after school, he would venture into small business and raise money to start his own transport company. He did not want to seek employment.

He did not come from a well off family so his peers laughed at his plans.

After sitting for his final examinations in 1952, he began selling eggs and chicken in Limuru. After 11 years, he had saved Ksh6,000.

He bought his first bus, a second-hand, with Ksh3,000 from his savings and Ksh5,000 loan.

Mburu operated the bus between Limuru and Nairobi, and after some time, he sold it and acquired a second hand Mercedes Benz bus.

“I was the driver and I had hired a conductor. Since it had now become my full time business, I got better at it day by day,” he told the Standard during an interview in 2014.

He bought his first new bus in 1972, and with it he explored long distance routes that involved Kisumu and Kakamega.

“With the new bus, I was able to operate for 24 hours, and this grew the business by leaps and bounds. I increased my buses quickly,” Mburu was quoted as saying.

By the 1980s, Mburu had 48 buses. He was, however, forced to downsize in the 90s after insurance premiums became a bit expensive.

He later increased the fleet to 39 after acquiring 21 Hino buses from Toyota Kenya in 2014.

“Be patient. Most people fail because they are overambitious. Learn about your business because there isn’t one without challenges. Also, do not engage in a business just because it is lucrative; you must have a passion for it in order to succeed,” he advices the youth.

Management

Mbukinya is run by Mburu’s children, led by the eldest who is 61.

Routes

The bus company plies the Western Kenya to Nairobi, Nyanza to Nairobi, and Nairobi to Mombasa routes majorly.

Charges

The company maintains relatively affordable charges and keeps them competitive and in line with the tides of the sector.

Faulty Hino Buses Saga

In 2019, the faulty Toyota Hino buses crisis worsened after Mburu returned 41 vehicles he acquired from the manufacturer after they had developed severe problems prior to expiration of their warranties.

Some of the faults included fatal engine and overheating problems, brake failures and cracks on the chassis.

31 of the buses had been financed by by Tshusho Capital, a subsidiary of Toyota Kenya and the others by CFC bank.

Toyota moved in and bought out CFC bank and Tsusho Capital and assumed ownership of the buses. They repaired the buses and asked Mburu to take them back, but he only took 14, whose logbooks indicated joint ownership with Toyota Kenya.

He was allegedly paid Ksh60 million, though he maintained that he had incurred losses in billions.