1. ‘Wawili beba waraka’
When you hear those words, which roughly translates to ‘two more people and we are off,’ don’t assume that the matatu requires two people to fill up. It probably requires three or four more people, and in some cases, it may have two ‘pigaseti’ (people who sit inside the vehicle to give the impression that it is almost full) inside who will alight once a few of you board. (on a light note… where is waraka?)
2. ‘Gari imejaa, hatubebi excess’
Many people support the laws governing the prohibition of matatus carrying extra passengers but there is that day when you are 30 people at a stage (bus-stop) and 1 matatu passes by every 5 minutes. It probably stops, one person alights and only one of you gets a chance to jump in.
It is at this point (after waiting for 15 or more minutes), that those at the stage will not mind being ‘extra passengers’ a.k.a ‘excess’ and they are told ‘Gari imejaa, hatubebi excess’ (Vehicle is full, no extra passengers). This is quite different from the previously popular ‘matatu haijai’ – a matatu never gets full.
4. ‘Haiya, mwisho wa gari ni hapa’ (this is the end of our journey)
You thought he was taking you to Railways or Bustation (and got to Agip), or even the end of your estate but you are just two of you left in the matatu and the driver and conductor see more potential in ending this journey to go and get more customers elsewhere. You are forced to alight and walk the rest of your journey (usually a few metres).
5. ‘ICEA shuka hapa, stage ingine Ambassadeur’ (we are not stopping at ICEA, next stop is Ambassadeur)
Anyone who has used a KBS, City Hoppa or Citi Shuttle into the CBD will know this. The bus gets to GPO and wants to get to Ambassadeur as fast as possible by skipping the ICEA bus-stop. Staying in may cost you a good 15 minutes as they try to get to Ambassadeur due to the traffic along Kimathi Street and Moi Avenue. Some even skip the GPO bus stop, dropping passengers along Kenyatta Avenue at the Red Lights.
6. ‘Stage yote hamsini’ (All destinations is Fifty Shillings)
In common sense one would wonder why you should pay the same for a 3 km journey as a 10 Km journey but that is how paratransits work. With no fixed schedules, it is common to have ‘fixed fare’ regardless of distance and destination.