Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Bad driving Roundup

bad driver Index
The other day I was stuck in a meeting and had a chance to observe traffic at the Kenyatta Avenue /I&M Towers intersection - and realized how bad we are at driving. A few minutes later I was down there myself adding to the chaos nosing a car foot-by-foot through until other driver had to yield.

While the most aggressive drivers appear to be matatus, taxis, citi hoppas, we are all to blame as regular motorists because we are equally bad drivers. Driving along the roadside, changing or creating extra lanes, doing u-turns etc.

Matatu and other bus drivers can get reported by sending an SMS to 2333 and once a month the Ministry of Transport will publish all these offences in a full page spread in the newspaper.

But there’s no mechanism for reporting private motorists or consequence for private bad drivers.
I wish the Ministry would extend the program to private motorists – in conjunction with Safaricom or Celtel – and enable motorists, or pedestrians to report bad driving by any driver. The difference is that only motorists who pile up more than 5 or 10 offences a month (reported by different people) get printed in the paper and asked to appear before the traffic court to answer for driving offences. I wonder how many times I’d appear on that list!

But motoring is only an extension of our aggressive/ rude inconsiderate selves that can be manifested anywhere, not just when driving.

Consider these other examples from a supermarket last weekend;
- Our inability to form a queue. Uchumi has a sign clearly indicating where to line up for bread - but which most customers ignore as they crowd the counter and yell out their orders for hot loaves or croissant
- A man with his kids on his way to a birthday party who pushed a full trolley through the 3 items only aisle. When I asked him if he understood the policy of the aisle, he said he was buying only 3 items – chocolate bar, bag of sweets, and balloons - but 10 of each item which unfortunately also had to be rung up separately by the cashier!
- Another day, a lady with her young daughter who paid for her items only to realise that her young daughter had picked out the wrong type of lotion. But instead of dealing with it later, she shoved a 1,000 shilling note at the cashier and dashed back into the supermarket to pick up the correct bottle – leaving five of us in the 3 items express queue also waiting to be served. To add insult to the matter she bumped into an old friend and had a chat for a minute while the rest of us stood and muttered insults under our breath.

Enough about that.

Airlines
Just about 20 months ago we marvelled at Kenya Airways whose share price had just shot up into the 60's - before it went on to hit 140 and settle around 120 shillings a share. At the same time Richard Branson was setting up a Virgin partnership in Nigeria and the first scheduled airline services were resuming to the Sudan

Today, Kenya Airways share price is back in the 60's, Virgin Atlantic's boss is here to firm up his launch plans for the Virgin Airline and there seems to be a new airline to the Sudan every month.

Francis Thuo
Today, March 21, marks the deadline for investors and creditors of Francis Thuo Stockbrokers to have filed their claims with the statutory manager.

Busy paper pushers
There are people employed at organizations whose job is to align their organizations to the national goals of the day. Like chameleons, they alter their corporate objectives, mission, and policies to ensure they are aligned to ensure 10% economic growth, millennium development goals(MDGs), zero based budgeting, and now Visions 2030 etc. Also in a touch of electioneering they have been asked to mention what constituency any/all their operations are - which will no doubt end up in a little booklet that will be dished out by November.

More media
Amid the changes at KTN comes a new television station to Kenya with a twist: first to broadcast vernecular language

Finally
driving horror tale A bank manager parked his luxury car on the street during the daytime and came back to collect it at about 8 p.m. He entered and drove towards home along well-lit streets till near Westland's when he noticed that he couldn't see the road very well. He parked at a petrol station and got out - only to find that his car had no headlights. They had all been removed by street boys back in town, and he had blissfully driven this far courtesy of Adopt-a-light streetlights.

15 comments:

Kenyanomics said...

KQ is in trouble should Virgin get landing rights to fly from JKIA to other African destinations. I hope the increased competition will translate to cheaper tickets and more destinations within Kenya.

acolyte said...

It took me leaving Kenya to realise how uncouth Kenyans can be on and off the roads.
Seems the City Council is giving nothing in return for the hefty parking charges it asks for from common Kenyans.

Anonymous said...

About time KQ faced some competition. If they're so good then lets see them survive this compe.

Unyc said...

KQ needs sme tough competition. I especially hate what they did to FLY540 on the mombasa flight.

As for driving, I always say if the hooting of vehicles ws in spoken word...the insults! Smetymes i look at pple drivin n smile. Its a comedy on our roads kabisa. U hv 2 be tough 2 survive on the Kenyan rds otherwise...

Lol....at the guy with the '3' items. Rules were not made for Kenyan's i tell ya!

Anonymous said...

U can take a kenyan out of kenya, but not the kenyan out of him/her. The English love queuing, and we hate it. So one of the favorite Kenyan moves in London is to to go to the front of the queue and speak to the English in our mother tongues when they start complaining...

mwasjd said...

Nice idea on the sms thing. But better still would be Nairobi to go the London way and have cameras on all major city routes. That way, offences are recorded automatically and every week/month the newspaper pullout will record the offenders. Automation of licences and hand held devices for cops would greatly help.

LOL on the supermarket sagas, some people need a sound beating to get them straight!

egm said...

It always takes me sometime to adjust whenever I come home and go to a shop and I am expected to hustle to catcht the attendant's attention for service instead of waiting in line for my turn.

The one fortunate thing about the madness that is driving in Kenya is that road rage has not reached the level of people pulling guns on each other for being cut off. That would double the homicide rate!

As for KQ and Virgin, I say competition is a welcome thing for we the consumers.

hisagal said...

Hey, but KQ has always had serious competition. its not like this is the first flight firm to bring this threat, andi dont see it have the threat magnitude of other bigger competitors.

And on the issue of FT, i still dont understand how NSE was idedntified as the "receiver Managers" and not an impartial company. Are we trying to ensure that the skeletons remain well hidden????

hisagal said...

Hey, but KQ has always had serious competition. its not like this is the first flight firm to bring this threat, and i dont see it having the threat magnitude of other bigger competitors.

And on the issue of FT, i still dont understand how NSE was identified as the "receiver Managers" and not an impartial company. Are we trying to ensure that the skeletons remain well hidden????

Anonymous said...

Kenyans are very good at beating down their country and anything Kenyan. The case of KQ just proves this. Since Virgin said they will come, I have read all sorts of negative comments.

I think its good for compe and KQ should survive. Afterall, Emirates, Qatar, BA haven't killed them. Let's be positive sometimes.

dropmyload said...

I fly often, and over the last 18 months, have chosen not to fly KQ to international destinations. I have noticed one glaring difference between KQ and the others: in economy class ( my class!), KQ usually have 2 staff serving the whole cabin. In contrast, Qatar, Emirates, BA etc have 4 to 6 staff doing the same work. No wonder KQ staff are always grumpy and service is pathetic! I think their recent growth has been based on cutting costs, not improving services.

bankelele said...

Kenyanomics: I don't see Virgin as a threat to KQ, maybe to BA

acolyte: bad driving all around. and parking is a nightmare too. if you have to do business around town, walk, take a bus or taxi because you'll never find a parking space (unless you have a humvee)

Unyc: Intra-African routes are KQ's main driver and no one has stepped up to compete with them. I'd look out for SAA not Virgin.
- as for 3 items buyer, it was Sunday, he had his kids with him, so he got a pass

Mwasjd: We are a long way from cameras & automatic tickets - though we have several companies making CCTV proposals around the city, none from the police.

Egm: People will step in front of a quiet customer and engage the attendant. road rage & guns? - no thanks

hisagal: I agree, Virgin is not bringing a scare, except maybe to prod KQ to improve their service
And on the issue of FT, i still - Good point about FT & NSE - very little will be revealed. Is the NSE even qualified to be a receiver manager?.

dropmyload: KQ is getting a bad rap now, but they are still on top. I once had to connect between Northwest/ KLM onto KQ and KQ was miles better.
- I hope to get a chance to fly them next month.

coldtusker said...

VA will fly LHR-NBO but most tourists go on to Mombasa on...KQ...

So KQ will benefit as long as VA, BA & KQ are not competing for the same passengers!

I have been an ardent supporter of KQ - though the service NEEDS improvement - and I remain so...

Flying Blue remains a better FF program than VA's miles coz there are more destinations for Kenyans to use on KQ e.g. NBO-Africa (KQ's Blue).

I hope this competition will force KQ to improve customer service. Look at EABL after SAB entered Kenya. They made record profits since they cut costs, improved the product range & distribution.

Many had written off Kenyan firms when the S.Africans invaded Kenya with their supermarkets (Metro), Juices (Ceres), etc... but the Kenyan manufacturers rallied & survived.

The govt needs to do more e.g. repair the roads, decrease insecurity, enforce just laws, etc to provide a fair playing field for local firms.

hash said...

I still drive like I was trained by a Matatu driver... I freely admit it. :)

Anyway, are you going to be attending this weeks BarCamp workshop/meeting in Nairobi? If so, I'm hoping you'll be giving a quick speech on the value of blogging in niche areas. You really are the expert when it comes to Kenyan business.

sokari said...

See Review of African Blogs on Pambazuka News:

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/blog/40484

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