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Public transport in Nairobi is comprised of small vans carrying about 14 passengers (matatus) and midibuses and buses carrying between 25 and 50 passengers. Foreign travellers would be very unwise to travel by matatu at all.
The larger bus companies are organised mainly into franchised management companies (along the lines of National Express in the UK) so don't actually own any assets. There are several main operators such as KBS (dark and light blue) and Citihoppa (light green) which, if you wish to travel by bus, stick to these companies and the bigger buses.
Routes are mainly radial, that is they start in the city centre at a terminal or "bus stage" and then work out along vaguely agreed routes to a terminal in the suburbs. As buses wait at the start to fill up before moving off getting a seat can be somewhat difficult during its route. This gets worse at peak periods, at busy time or when it rains.
The law does not permit any standing passengers on any bus or matatu. It also requires a conductor and a driver to be present on all buses.
Fares are more expensive at peak periods, when it rains or if you're not local and paid in cash. Fares should not exceed 100 shilling for a ride almost anywhere and for inner suburbs expect 40 shilling - give exact change or you pay more - and no ticket can be expected.
There is no published passenger information on routes etc for passengers. The only map in existance has been compiled by Digital Matatus and is largely correct (although many different companies tend to operate one route with minor variations).
There is no evidence about maintenance, operator licencing, driver licencing and depot facilities for any company, particulary the matatus. You have been warned!