A cocktail of nonstop hooting, whistleblowing and touting by conductors banging on the side of Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) are among unique sounds one would expect while traversing the busy Nairobi Central Business District (CBD).
In most cases, depending on the stage, there are matatus that have built a reputation in customer experience hence proving superiority in the market.
From Super Metro, Forward Travelers, to Double M, a number of Saccos have essentially created an aura of dominance within the industry, however, little is known about the brains behind these operations.
Kenyans.co.ke takes a look at a number of owners who have established themselves as the cream of the crop within the industry.A Super Metro Matatu dubbed "The Beast" pictured along Nairobi CBD on October 4, 2020.Super Metro / Facebook
Super Metro- Nelson Mwangi
In an industry often flawed by unruly and reckless driving, Super Metro Sacco has set itself apart and created a niche for customers to admire. At the front of these operations is Nelson Mwangi, the chairman of the firm since its inception in 2013.
In a previous interview with Kenyans.co.ke, Mwangi entailed that the Super Metro Sacco prides itself in being governed by rules and regulations especially in the enrolment process whereby all matatu conductors and touts have to pass the interview.
In his early days, Mwangi dropped out of school due to fees. He delved into roasting maize in Eastleigh, Nairobi in order to make ends meet. He then seized an opportunity to work as a lift attendant and became an operations manager. A few years later, Mwangi quit his job to delve into the matatu business.
River of God (ROG) - Kennedy Odhiambo
Known for its unique choice of music during peak hours, most commuters are drawn to this particular Sacco which plies along the CBD- Buruburu route.
Its Chairman Kennedy Odhiambo has always been affirmative in the punitive laws for its operators who flout set regulations. During a past interview, Odhiambo noted that the enactment of the laws has been critical to their success.
This has seen errant touts and matatu drivers appear before a panel in order to face disciplinary action. This occurs on the last Sunday of every month.
Double M - Mary Mwangi
Known for its mark in the industry for over three decades, Double M has been a staple since its establishment in 1986. Its owner Mary Mwangi has led the Sacco in troubled waters to emerge as one of the most recognized matatus plying the Buruburu, Donholm route.
The former accounts clerk at the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) quit her job in order to concentrate on the matatu business alongside her husband, John Mwangi. She took full control of the business after her husband's demise in 2011.
Joy Kenya -Patrick Njiru
The brother to Kirinyaga Women Representative Wangui Ngirici, Patrick Njiru has managed to keep his business away from the public limelight.
Through the Neo Kingstone Hardware and suppliers Limited company, the businessman established himself as a force in the supplies industry.
Njiru also showed superiority in the year 2002 when he had over 20 PSVs plying the Thika Superhighway route. Currently, the Sacco is a favourite amongst passengers, especially due to its affordable fares during peak hours.A fleet of Neo kenya Mpya busesFile
Forward Travellers-Peter Kiige
Notably, one of the most conspicuous matatus plying along the Jogoo road, Juja road, Malaa, Kangundo and Kayole routes, Forward Travellers (FT) has maintained a unique style in their service delivery.
Under the leadership of Peter Njau Kiige, the fleet boasts of over 400 vehicles distinguished by the green and yellow design.
TelAviv Travelers -Saleh Ahmad
Plying along the Nairobi’s South-C route, Arbab Ventures Limited previously known as Tel Aviv Travelers, has been another dominant Sacco within the market.
Salah Ahmed, a co-founder of the Sacco, entailed that his secret to success involved in ensuring their fleets maintained their good condition. During a past media interview, he revealed that he bought his first matatu at Ksh350,000, - detailing that he would buy a car at an affordable price then fix it.
He also pointed out that those considering to venture into owning a matatu business should consider their budget, right type of staff, appropriate licenses as well as branding, modifications and fabrications.
2NK Sacco - Anne Nyawira
2NK is part of the largest Sacco whose fleet plies across the Mt Kenya region, Nairobi as well as other parts of Rift Valley.
The structure of the vehicles is that the fleet don't have conductors hence the drivers are required to collect the fare before embarking on the journey.
In a male-dominated industry, Nyawira has established herself as a top tier businessperson with the Sacco consisting of over 30 members and about 800 matatus with assets valued at Ksh240 million.
During a past interview, she entailed that in order to join, one had to have a new matatu with the latest registration number. The initials 2NK came from its main routes, Nairobi, Nyeri and Karatina.
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