Investigations by Muranganewspaper have uncovered a troubling issue in matatus, specifically those on the Eastlands route, where bedbugs have become a common problem. Passengers have reported feeling itchy and irritated bites while riding in these matatus. Anne Wambui, who lives on Ngong Road, recounted an experience where she saw a bedbug crawling on her thigh while on a matatu heading to Kasarani.
Some matatu touts have argued that the problem is not with the cleanliness of their vehicles but with the passengers themselves. Joseph Kamau, a matatu driver plying Jogoo Road, stated that “Nairobians have not understood the bedbug problem. Now, the bugs have attacked matatus.”
David Mutuku, another driver on the Lunga Lunga route, acknowledged the issue, but stated that it is inconsistent, with many passengers being hesitant to speak up about it. Njoro wa Njahia of Mathare said that they have tried to address the issue by spraying the matatus, but the bedbugs continue to return.
Matatu Owners Association chairman Simon Kimutai acknowledged the problem and said that while laws and rules could be set, it is difficult to enforce individual hygiene. He urged staff to maintain high standards of cleanliness. Nairobi County Public Communications Director Beryl Okundi also urged matatu owners or their Saccos to maintain high standards of cleanliness and to seek the right treatment to fight bedbugs.