New York has taxis, London has red buses, the Philippines has Jeepneys, New Delhi has auto rickshaws, while Nairobi has its matatus.
Matatu is a slang term for minibuses used as public transport in Kenya. In Nairobi, public transport is standard for most residents and matatus play an important role in providing transport to the city's residents.
Immediately after independence, public transport was not yet developed. London's only Overseas Trading Company (OTC) operates a fleet of buses operating on selected routes. People walk miles just to go to work or travel from one place to another.
This prompted former President Jomo Kenyatta to commission the first matatus – a fleet of pickup trucks and trucks – in Nairobi. Wooden benches with the name "Face me, I face you" were placed on the cars. Owners even set up tents on the trunk of pickup trucks to protect passengers from inclement weather.
They also had the annoying habit of stopping frequently and randomly to pick up and drop off passengers. The "face-me" matatus has been removed.
Below are some of the tbt Matatu photos;
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