This is a rant.
Here’s the thing about public transport where I live. The laws of traffic don’t apply to them.
Stop signs? No thanks, they’ll drive right into a busy junction. Red lights? Surely that means go, right? Lane markings, pfft! That’s for sissies. And while you stick to your lane, they’re just going to overlap or drive into oncoming traffic.
It’s loud, it’s fast, and of course crowded because the ‘matatus’ have a tendency to ferry excess passengers at every chance. It’s dangerous. Deadly.
This morning, a cop pulled over the matatu because the driver had used the wrong lane. Typical. So there we were, 14 passengers, running late for work, standing on the side of the road wondering how we’d all get to work.
Usually, the driver will have a quick conversation with the cop, part with a few notes and all is well with the world again.
This cop however wasn’t having it. In an ideal situation (nothing is ideal about traffic in Nairobi) the cop would have issued a ticket and left the driver to battle it out in court.But there he stood, minding traffic like we were all invisible. It was inconveniencing to say the least. And this was actually one of the lesser evils committed by matatu crew.
Eventually, the cop did instruct the driver to give each of us a refund so that we could make it to the City Centre.
It irks me though that this kind of scenario is what’s “normal” for those who rely on public transport and what’s even harder is that we’re such a long way from having some semblance of order on our roads.
I live in one of the most corrupt countries in the world and this affects the transport sector in all manner of ways. I can’t even begin to go into all the details. This post would be a mile long by the time I’m done.
Anyway, (sigh!) it’s almost bedtime this side of the world and frankly, my matatu ride home left my nerves more frazzled than I had expected. It hasn’t been a good day on the roads for me.
Ps: If you want to know what it’s like to drive in Nairobi, Google the episode of Don’t Drive Here: Nairobi.