It is common practice for many people to jump into any oncoming matatu along the highway especially when late from or to work.
This habit is of course informed by well-founded fears like being attacked by marauding thugs under the cover of darkness or even losing one’s job for lateness.
Unfortunately for Thika commuters with this habit of boarding highway matatus popularly known as ‘matatu za murengo’, one could by this seemingly harmless move be jumping from the frying pan to the fire.
According to Thika Town Today blog, many victims have decried the re-emergence of matatu thugs who are stealing phones and personal valuables from unsuspecting commuters who board these matatus.
“The practice is so common early in the mornings and late at night when there is little human traffic on the road. Majority of these matatus are old and unroadworthy that seem never to operate during the day when traffic police are on the road,” one of the victims who lost his phone recently is quoted as saying.
But how do you lose your valuables while inside a matatu where you would assume to be safest? Well, here are 3 ways you may lose your valuables to these matatu thugs as documented by the same blog.
1. Faulty doors
If you sit next to a faulty door, you are likely to fall, a victim of these thugs, the moment you are asked to lock the door properly and as you struggle to do so, the ‘passenger’ sitting next to you will be busy emptying your pockets.
“These doors will never lock properly so you end up holding onto it so as not to fall over as the vehicle is moving. Once they steal from you, the conductor ‘alerts’ you that you have dropped an item and asks the driver to stop the vehicle. Immediately you alight to check what you have dropped, the driver speeds off and leaves you stranded in the dark,” another victim narrates.
2. Someone pretending to open a window
Another trick, the blog writes, is usually someone pretending to open the window from the furthest end and as they brush against you, they pickpocket you and later alight from the next bus stop.
3. Dropping coins
Others will drop some coins and request their target victims to help them to pick and before they realize it, the phone, wallet and any other valuable(s) that the matatu thug can lay their hands on vanishes.
Matatus heading to Ruiru Town (ndani) from Thika Superhighway are said to be notorious for these matatu thugs who allegedly conspire with the matatu crews.