Transport in Nairobi

Nairobi is the capital city of Kenya with a population of over 3 million people. Nairobi can be challenging to get around without information on the existing public transport system. The city center is an area of about one square kilometer and it is largely reserved for commercial activities while a designated industrial area stretches from the Nairobi Railway Station to about 20 square kilometers. Residential areas are as far as 25 km outwards. The existing transport system covers all these destinations to enable the commuters to move from their residential areas to their work places in the city. The transportation system also enables the movement of goods and services around the city.

The available means of transport include;

  • Matatus (14 seater mini taxis)
  • Town buses
  • Upcountry buses
  • Mukokoteni hand cart
  • Trains
  • Lorries of various sizes
  • Boda boda (motor bikes)
  • Tuk-tuks (three wheeled taxis mainly in Mombasa City )
  • Special hire taxis


These are 14 seater shared mini bus taxis. They are the most predominant means of getting around the city as they are many in number. All taxis end up in the city center to pick and drop customers..


A number of bus companies ply some of the city routes. Routes converge at the city centre serving as a drop off and pick up point for passengers.


Commuter train service in Nairobi was introduced in the 1980’s to address the spiraling cost of transport by matatus and buses for the urban poor. Trains are the most effective means of transport and are available on four lines converging at the Nairobi Railway station in the city center. The trains only operate on weekdays during rush hours (morning, lunch time and evening).

Boda bodas

Boda bodas in Nairobi emerged on the Nairobi scene in 2003. They can be typically found at strategic road junctions especially in the city outskirts. Very few boda bodas operate in the city center. They tend to be more expensive than matatus but their flexibility and high speed makes them convenient for moving around.


These are three wheeled motorbike taxi hybrids that provide a cheaper alternative to taxis for short trips within the city center. They are designed to carry three passengers.