Nairobi matatu route numbers and where to board
Nairobi matatu route numbers are still in use even though most vehicles don’t display them nowadays. In this article we break them down for you and where to board the matatus. It is not rare to see even city dwellers getting lost.
If you are a visitor in Nairobi, whether from upcountry or another country, you may find it difficult to navigate the ever changing city. Yes, it is true that even those who have lived in this city for all their lives have to ask for directions and where to board a matatu for specific destinations. This article will help you navigate this chaotic city.
Public transport system in Kenya
The main means of public transport in Kenya and in Nairobi is by matatu. However there are various ways you can move around in the city today:
1. Matatu transport
The Nairobi matatu culture is renowned across the world for those who have been to Kenya. Matatu is a shared vehicle and have varying capacities: 7, 11, 14, 32 seats for passengers. These matatus are organised into saccos (savings and credit cooperative societies) while others are operated under company names.
Each matatu sacco or company is accredited by the National Transport and Safety authority and is licenced to operate on particular route(s). If a matatu is found to be flouting this rule of routes, it can be sanctioned.
The smaller 7, 11 and 14 seater matatus have a yellow stripe on the body, and on it are written a route number, destinations for that route number, and capacity of the vehicle. The bigger matatus are painted in their particular company or sacco colours.
In some instances however, you may find that some small matatus do not have the yellow stripe, such as those under the MetroTrans company. The big matatus do not clearly show the route numbers or destinations so you have to be careful before you board.
Once upon a time, there were two major shuttle bus companies in Kenya: The Kenya Bus Service and the Nyayo Bus Service. They were quite organised. However Nyayo Bus collapsed while Kenya Bus is a struggling company to day due to mismanagement and corruption in the industry.
The following bus services operate in today and also use the Nairobi matatu route numbers:
- Kenya Bus Service
- Neo Kenya Company (Kenya Mpya)
- Citti Hoppa
- City Shuttle
- Double M Bus services
The operation of these buses is not different from that of matatus. In fact the difference is probably just the sitting capacity, where most of the buses carry more passengers. They fill up the bus by touting, where conductors and touts call out loudly to commuters to board the bus.
3. Matatu hailing apps
The most recognized bus hailing app is SWVL which in recent times has increased its routes to more than 40. There is also the Little Shuttle. Just like you hail taxis such as Uber or Bolt, you can book a shared shuttle for a specific time to drop you at a specific destination. For this type of transportation, you have to book in advance and specify the time of your movement.
4. Taxi and taxi apps
There are numerous taxi ranks across the city where you can take a cab to ferry you to your destination. This is probably the most convenient way to move around the city even though it is the most expensive. A taxi will have a yellow strip or will display a sign on its roof.
You can also use any of the numerous taxi hailing apps in Kenya to get a cab of your choice to travel. This option is more affordable most of the time compared to the taxis at the ranks.
Bodabodas are all over the city. These are motorcycle taxis which are allowed to carry one pillion passenger and mostly operate within short distances. You can catch one from anywhere in the city and are probably the most convenient in terms of saving time, since they manoeuvre easily through the choking traffic jams of Nairobi. However, these manoeuvres are also probably the most dangerous thrills. Talk to your person to be careful and put safety first.
The only BodaBoda hailing app is by Bolt since SafeBoda left due to poor business.
TukTuks mostly carry three passengers. They are small and operate within short distances which are normally not covered by matatus. For instance, you would easily move from downtown CBD to another part such as Country Bus Station using a tuktuk than with matatu.
The Kenya Railways Train is used by commuters mostly in the mornings and evenings. The train routes are being revitalised to increase efficiency. At the moment, only a few routes are covered such as between CDB – Kikuyu, CBD – Eastlands via Makadara. It is not the most efficient way to move around today even though it is quite affordable if you catch a train.
Nairobi matatu route numbers and their boarding stations in Nairobi
You should understand that matatus connect city estates and the metropolis with the CBD, estates with estates, as well as the city with the upcountry. More routes are coming up as new estates are built and more roads are constructed. We continue to update the information as necessary. Today the following Nariobi matatu route numbers exist, arranged in chronological order:
|Nairobi Matatu Route Number||Destination connections||Route name||Where to board matatu in Nairobi|
|1||Karen – Dagoretti Market||Karen Stage, Dagoretti Market|
|2||CBD – Dagoretti Corner – Kawangware – Waithaka||Ngong Rd – Naivasha Rd||Railways|
|2B||CBD – Dagoretti Market||Ngong Rd – Naivasha Rd – Kikuyu Rd||Railways|
|2C||CBD – Dagoretti Corner – Kawangware – Waithaka – Muthama||Ngong Rd – Naivasha Rd – Kikuyu Rd||Railways|
|3||Dagoretti Corner – Kawangware – Uthiru||Naivasha Rd||Corner, Uthiru|
|4||CBD – Pumwani – Madiwa – Eastleigh Section 3||Luthuli Av|
|4C||CBD – Adams Arcade – Kabiria||Ngong Rd – Naivasha Rd – Kinyanjui Rd||Railways|
|4W||CBD – Adams Arcade – Wanyee – Kabiria||Ngong Rd – Nivasha Rd – Wanyee Rd||Railways|
|5/5C||CBD – Adams Arcade – Jamhuri||Ngong Rd||Railways|
|6||Eastleigh – Likoni Rd – Lunga Lunga rd – Sinai||Eastleigh, Sinai|
|7||Majengo – Gikomba||Majengo, Gikomba|
|7B||CBD – Bunyala Rd – Upper Hill – Kenyatta National Hospital||Kencom, GPO|
|7C||CBD – Community – Upper Hill – Kenyatta National Hospital||Kencom, GPO|
|8||CBD – Prestige – Kibera||Ngong Rd||Railways, GPO, Serena|
|8B||Gikomba – Eastleigh – Bahati -Jerusalem – Jericho||Jogoo Rd||City Stadium|
|9/6||CBD – Ngara – Eastleigh Garissa Mall||Tom Mboya St|
|10||Muthurwa – Shauri Moyo||Muthurwa|
|10||CBD – Mbotela – Jericho|
|11||CBD – Aga Khan – Parklands – Highridge||Odeon|
|11A||CBD – Ngara – Stima Plaza||Odeon|
|11B||CBD – South B – Balozi – Hazina||Bus Station|
|11C||CBD – KICD – Pangani||Odeon, Khoja|
|12C||CBD – South C – Mugoya – Bellevue||Bus Station|
|12D||CBD – Mombasa Rd – Nextgen – KPA||Mombasa Rd|
|14||CBD – Kariobangi North||Ronald Ngala St|
|14A||CBD – Madaraka – Strathmore – Texas Centre||Langata Rd||Tom Mboya St, Bus Station|
|15||CBD – Langata – Otiende – St Mary’s Hospital –||Langata Rd||Tom Mboya St (towards Bus Station)|
|15/34||Kenyatta National Hospital – Mbagathi – Langata||KNH|
|16||CBD – Highrise – Soweto||Langata Rd||Bus Station|
|17A||Gikomba – Saika – Kayole||Juja Rd||Ring Rd Pumwani|
|17B||CBD – Kasarani – Roysambu – Mwiki||Thika Rd||Behind Bus Station|
|18C||Eastleigh – Saika – Komarock||Juja Rd|
|18/62||Eastleigh – Ruai – Saika – Joska||Juja Rd|
|19C||CBD – B Centre – Komarock||Jogoo Rd – Manyanja Rd||Mfangano St|
|19/60||CBD – B Centre – Kayole||Jogoo Rd – Manyanja rd||Mfangano|
|20||Roysambu – Mwiki – Kayole – Mama Lucy Hospital Umoja||Roysambu, Mama Lucy|
|22||CBD – Kangemi – Uthiru/Kabete Polytechnic – Ndumbu-ini||Waiyaki Way||Latema Rd, Lagos Rd|
|23||CBD – Jericho – Harambee – Kariobangi South – Civil Servant||Juja Rd||Ronald Ngala St, Tom Mboya|
|23||CBD – Westlands – Kangemi||Waiyaki Way||Odeon|
|23B||CBD – Westlands – Kangemi – Uthiru – Dagoretti Centre Market||Waiyaki Way, Muhuri Rd||Odeon, Tom Mboya St|
|23C||CBD – Regen||Waiyaki Way||Tom Mboya St|
|23/30||CBD – Westlands – Kangemi||Waiyaki Way||Odeon|
|24||CBD – Bomas – Hardy – Karen||Ngong Rd||Kencom|
|25/25A||CBD – Allsopps – Baba Dogo – Lucky Summer|
|26||Jogoo Rd – Makadara – Jericho – Kariobangi Roundabout (Raunda)||Jogoo RD|
|28||Gikomba – Huruma – Kariobangi North||Juja Rd||Gikomba Market|
|29/30||CBD – Survey – Mathare North|
|30||CBD – KANGEMI – KINOO – REGEN||Waiyaki Way||Tom Mboya St|
|32||CBD – Ayany – Woodley – Kibera||Ngong Rd||GPO, Kencom|
|32/42||CBD – Dandora||Jogoo Rd, Outer Ring||Ambassedeur|
|33||CBD – Ngummo||Ambassedeur, Kencom|
|33||CBD – Utawala||Mombasa Rd||Tom Mboya Gill House|
|33A||CBD – Embakasi Gate A and Gate B||Mombasa rd|
|33B||CBD – Fedha – Nyayo Gate B||Jogoo Rd||Gill House, Ambassedeur|
|34||CBD – Pipeline – Donholm – CBD||Mombasa Rd||Ambassadeur|
|34A||CBD – Donholm – Pipeline – JKIA||Jogoo rd||Ambassedeur|
|34B||CBD – Donholm – Svannah – Jacaranda||Jogoo rd||Ambassedeur|
|34C||CBD – Donholm – Greenfields||Jogoo Rd||Ambassedeur|
|35 or 35/60||CBD – Donholm – Umoja 2||Jogoo rd||Ronald Ngala St|
|36||City Stadium – Buruburu – Kariobangi South – Dandora||Jogoo Rd||City Stadium|
|37/38||Eastleigh – Saika – Njiru – Ruai||Juja Rd||Eastleigh, Ruai|
|39||CBD – Njiru – Ruai – Kamulu – Joska – Malaa – Kantafu||Bus Station|
|40||CBD – Mbagathi – Ngummo||Mbagathi way||Bus Station|
|41||Gikomba – Kayole||Gikomba|
|43||CBD – Ruaraka – Ngumba||Thika Rd||Bus Station|
|44||CBD – Zimmerman – Githurai – Kahawa West||Thika Rd||Ronald Ngala St, Tom Mboya St|
|45||CBD – Roysambu – Githurai||Thika Rd||Ronald Ngala St, Tom Moya St|
|45||CBD – Githurai – KU||Thika Rd||Ronald Ngala St, Tom Mboya St|
|46||CBD – Huruma||Juja Rd||Ronald Ngala St|
|46||CBD – Hurlingham – Lavington – Kawangware||Ngong Rd – Argwings Kodhek – Gitanga Rd||Kencom|
|47A||CBD – Kahawa Sukari – Mwihoko||Thika Rd||Tom Mboya St|
|49||CBD – Clay City/Works||Thika Rd|
|53||CBD – Roasters – Thome – Marurui|
|56||CBD – Kawangware 56 / Stage 2||Ngong Rd||Railways|
|58||CBD – Buruburu – Mesora||Jogoo Rd||Tom Mboya Tuskys|
|60||CBD – Kayole||Mfangano|
|61||City Stadium – Kayole||Jogoo Rd – Manyanja Rd||City Stadium|
|69/73||CBD – Industrial Area – GM- Imara Daima – Mukuru kwa Nnjenga||Mombasa Rd|
|70/71||Muthurwa – Lunga Lunga – Sinai – Donholm||Muthurwa|
|100||CBD – Kiambu||Tom Mboya Commercial, Khoja|
|101||Kikuyu – Banana||Kikuyu|
|102||CBD – Waithaka – Alliance – Kikuyu||Ngong Rd – Naivasha Rd – Kikuyu Rd||Tom Mboya Tuskys, Railways|
|103||Dagoretti Corner – Kawangware – Uthiru – Muthiga – Wangige||Naivasha Rd – Waiyaki Way||Corner, Kawangware, Uthiru|
|105||CBD – Kinoo – Kikuyu||Waiyaki Way||Tom Mboya St, Archives|
|106||CBD – Ruaka – Banana||Khoja|
|107||CBD – Ruaka – Ndenderu||Khoja|
|108||CBD – Gachie – Gichagi||Khoja|
|110||CBD – Athi River – Kitengela||Mombasa Rd||Near Easy Coach Haille Sellasie Av|
|111||CBD – Ngong Town – Kiserian||Ngong Rd||Railways|
|112||CBD – Kikuyu – Gikambura|
|114||CBD – Kabuku – Limuru||Roast House|
|115||CBD – Rironi – Limuru||Waiyaki Way||Roast House|
|116||CBD – Tigoni – Limuru||Roast House|
|117||CBD – Syokimau – Katani Rd|
|118||CBD – Lower Kabete – Wangige||Lower Kabete Rd||Khoja, Westlands|
|119||CBD – Mwimuto – Wangige||Lower Kabete Rd||Khoja, Westlands|
|119A||CBD – Westkands – Gathiga|
|120||CBD – Kiambu – Githunguri||Khoja|
|122||CBD – Kiambu – Inagi|
|125||CBD – Bomas – Ongata Rongai||Ngong Rd||Gill House, Railways|
|126||CBD – Rongai – Kiserian||Gill House, Railways|
|129||Kikuyu – Wangige – Ndenderu||Kikuyu|
|131||CBD – Zambezi – Nderi|
|132||Kikuyu – Limuru||Nakuru Highway||Kikuyu|
|133||CBD – Kayole – Mihango|
|134||CBD – Isinya – Namanga – Oloitoktok||River Rd – Ronald Ngala St Junction|
|135||Dagoretti Corner – Kawangware – Uthiru – Limuru||Naivasha Rd – Nakuru Highway||Corner, Kawangware, Uthiru, Nakuru Highway|
|145||CBD – Ruiru||Thika Rd|
|146||CBD – Gatundu|
|160||CBD – Kibichoi|
|201/202||CBD – Tala – Kangundo||Kangundo Rd|
|236||CBD – Juja – JKUAT|
|237||CBD – Thika Town||Thika Rd||Behind Firestation|
|238||CBD – Makongeni – Posta|
What is the future for Nairobi matatu route numbers?
It is important to note that the introduction of saccos occasioned most matatus to stop displaying route numbers they serve. It is easier to ask a conductor for direction to the stage where the vehicles you need are than asking for the Nairobi matatu route numbers. Only a few PSVs display route numbers.
Also, vehicles to same destinations do not necessarily share a stage or venue for picking passengers. For instance, you can find there are stages for various saccos going to Thika in more than four locations that are distant from each other in the CBD.
Update: There are several terminuses coming up as the government works towards decongesting the city centre. That means some of these matatu route numbers will become obsolete with time if the piloting succeeds.