CBD matatu ban: A bachelor’s nightmare


Residents walking after PSVs were banned from accessing the CBD
Residents walking after PSVs were banned from accessing the CBD. PHOTO| COURTESY

I left my very humble bachelor pad at Kahawa Wendani on Thika Road at 6am on Monday, December 3, 2018.

I have never left that early; I’m not a morning person, but rent has to be paid and food put on the table.

The CBD matatu ban had earlier been announced by Nairobi County government.

According to a notice published on the local dailies last week, all matatus that have been accessing the city centre through Thika Road, Waiyaki Way, Uhuru Highway, Kipande Road, Limuru Road, Ruiru and Kiambu Road were to pick and drop passengers at Fig Tree in Ngara.

What this means is that – because I live on Thika Road – I was going to alight at Ngara and then walk all the way down to the bus terminus at Afya Centre in order to board the next bus to get to my workplace.

I don’t know how many of you are actually picturing that distance right now but in case you’re not aware of how far that is, let me give you a mental picture:

Have you ever imagined how Eliud Kipchoge feels after a running that 5,000 meter marathon? This is exactly like that; and, Yes, with all the sweat included.

Anyway, after leaving the house at 6am, do you want to guess what time I arrived at Ngara? 9 a.m!

Yes, I was on the road for an entire three hours; a distance that, without traffic, is usually 20 minutes and with traffic, has never gone beyond an hour.

Do you know how long 3 hours is? Twins could have been conceived in 3 hours; Mayweather could have knocked out some hapless chap, cashed in his money and started training for his next bout.

By the time I alighted at Ngara, the footbridge was swarmed with a beehive of human beings.

I know that’s not a real phrase but what I really mean is there were so many people trying to get to either side of the flyover they looked like bees in a hive.

And so for a second there I froze because I was afraid if one more person got onto that footbridge – read: me – then the whole thing would come tumbling down like a bad hangover. But I had to get to that other side because I had to go to work.

As I write this from my workstation, I have used about Ksh.500 – up from the Ksh.150 I usually spend – and I was about half an hour late to work.

I have probably seen more Kenyans today than I have in my entire life.

The numbers walking from one terminus to the other is probably higher than that which attended the presidential inauguration ceremony at Kasarani stadium.

Kenyans in their droves – men, women, children, people on wheelchairs – on Monday morning paced across long stretches because this is Nairobi and, ban or no ban, food must be put on the table.

I can only hope that this nightmare will never occur again.

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Story By Ian Omondi
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