Travel Report Aboard Mash Higer Gold Class By Ian Kung’u aka Azul – Travel Date 13th April, 2017

Thursday 13TH April
Travelling impromptu was a hitherto experience to me until I became a bus rep
Man, things just come up and you really have to go without a moment’s notice. A social call came up and without any sort of warning, was smack dab in the middle of the Easter holiday, right on Good Friday. So I needed to travel on one of the busiest rush nights on the Bus Calendar. Every bus company is packed to the rafters with passengers. Literally I saw no way out, but I knew I had to risk it.
My previous travel report had landed in my boss’ office and had sat favourably with the top brass.
Mash Cool Gold Class would be available on that Thursday evening. The crew have since grown close to me. Well God is not dead, I assure you that. So having faith in my friendship with Mustapha, the conductor of this bus after placing him well with his boss, I made my preparations knowing in mind that this would be my bus. I was needed in Nairobi latest 8:00am but it was a gamble I was willing to take on account of how this travel in and by itself a miracle. Let me tell you why: As It is, This bus ticket fare is Kshs 2,500 for VIP and Kshs 1,800 Business Class, it is the best bus Mash East Africa Ltd has to offer on the Mombasa – Nairobi route. It had been fully booked two weeks before the travel date. Yeah, you see why I’m so floored.
So I had maybe planned to be the secondary conductor for the evening and had even dressed up for the job, but he’d have none of that. I was also expecting to be upfront “kwa bonnet” anyway since the bus was full, but Shock on me as I’m at first given seat number 38, backbench, then later past Mariakani, seat number 18, a window seat, for the staff, all the way to Nairobi😶😶😶😮😮😮😮😮.
I thanked the heavens for such blessings.
Now onto the journey itself.
The bus was boarded at Mash Plaza Mombasa from 10:00pm. Filled to almost full and departed at 10:15pm. (Mash is known for timekeeping) We then headed to the Makupa Office to collect more passengers and I bid farewell to my close pals from there Sammy, Ngala and Muthama (Amina Kassim works the day shift)
And we headed out of Mombasa properly at 10:30pm with Senior Captain Hassan at the wheel who in my opinion is the most experienced and disciplined Captain in all of Mash. He doesn’t merely drive, any driver (including myself Francaise Frankie) can drive a bus, but he is a Captain. Seat number 38 no complaints, fluffy padded cushion and a lovely lady to my right named Tabitha with whom I made small talk with as we received our refreshments (500ml of refrigerated water, 300ml Refrigerated soda and a packet of Chocolate Cream Bourbon Biscuits made by Manji).
She enquired from me whether the bus has wi-fi and I was glad for once in my life that I am such a know-it-all😘. I gave her the password so quickly you’d think it was my telephone number 😋. Soon the ushering was over and Mustapha headed back to the front, the overhead lights, blue ambience lights and floor lights were soon switched off as we got to Mikindani. The air was clean, crisp and well conditioned with a tinge of lemon like fragrance (Like Seven-up). For entertainment we had Soft Taarab music is playing and Tabbz excused herself to watch a movie on her Tab (No pun intended). I wish her safe travels as I was likely not get another chance to interact with her again after that. I thanked her for Choosing Mash. And I get underway with typing the report (neat trick picked up from Ben Hongo).
My Close friend and Big Bro Muhammad Karis has had a long standing love affair with local fabs. On the other hand, I am hopelessly, irrevocably and possibly-in-need-of-a-restraining-order in love with Imports, particularly Scania Higer A80 and A80T (Touring). The Purr of a well serviced K410 engine shifting through it’s gears right beneath your feet is almost therapeutic, the turbo spool feels like a well deserved aristocratic whomp in the Kidneys, that “tsss tsss ktsss ktsss ktchak tchaaa” spooling noise ought to be patented as a soothing relaxing lullaby. Hey but that’s just me being crazy, few will understand me though. The likes Of Blake, Hongo, Alvin, Kila Ben, Hummie Ngala, Wallaby Next, Hil Senior etc that list is long.
This post is gonna be long as well lemme not lie😂
We soon hit the diversion, and here is where you know how well a bus is built, rattling is to the minimum, the suspension absorbs the shock so marvellously that I was sure even the most sensitive sleeper would make it through the stretch undisturbed, (I know I have). There was no rattling, no panel vibration, no clink of glass on metal like you’d get from local fabs, in fact the whole outside world is isolated from us, both by sight and by sound.
We got to Maungu where there was a drop off for one of our loaders now and I now moved to seat 18. I thanked Mustapha and we continued to plough into the night.
I downloaded one of those nifty little GPS speedometer apps on Google play and the results were that we were averaging 75.2km/hr with a Maximum speed of 80km/hr. Its not a wonder that so many Kanyaris from Mash, Modern Coast and even BusCar were blowing past us like we were sitting ducks. But this has never bothered me. I knew that I was in Good hands and that the vehicle was being well driven, Safety first after all.
Typing Typing Texting blah blah blah, all of a sudden its 1:45am and we were at Total in Voi.
Off I went, to the gents, then to my camera documenting the buses that were already there. I got off this earthplane and immediately spotted a sister bus, Modern Coast Oxygen KBH190C sailing away to Nairobi. Usually it departs at 10:30pm so I knew we were on track. Then there was Mash christened ‘Elephantilicious’ KCD510E, my original Bae KCJ384V and later on Karisa’s Special from Mr Bobby Virdee KBT110D. I snapped what I could and we were off again at 2:00am.
Original Bae with its extra turbos soon took the lead, but we latched on real close, KCE043L (the widowmaker as I would like to call it) zoomed past. Hassan does not tailgate, he times his overtaking very well. Those ahead of us had a fifteen minute lead, which would be compensated by the stop at Mtito. An hour later at precisely 3:10am (seriously no pun) KCF587U heads past us in the opposite direction heading to Mombasa with Patricia Adhiambo on board. 5 minutes later, P360#1 KCK269C captained by David Mzalendo followed them behind, they would be early in Mombasa. Very early indeed.
KCD510E I am convinced is one of the fastest buses in Mash, because while at least these other two could be seen, the brightly lit green elephant just faded into the night.
3:30am sharp we checked into Mtito Andei.
I had really looked forward to photographing P360 #2 KCK266C in Mtito as it was scheduled to have left Nairobi around the same time as we left Mombasa but Alas! That was not to be, we arrived as it was leaving. Such a shame. However, I did manage to see KCJ 840E and KCJ 860E, the ZhongTong Twins, woohoo.
KBH190C has really gotten on in years, I didn’t see where we had overtaken it but it entered Mtito just as we were leaving. Had it been any of the two Bamboochas, ha haa what am I saying😂😂😂

The Driver didn’t want any nonsense anymore. He had heard that I had an appointment at 8:00am. So from Mtito there was no Monkey Business We were flying through these buses, Dreamline, Modern Coast, Buscar. All that had overtaken us are now specks in the rear view. Due to the nature of my business in Nairobi, I left it to God and fell asleep hoping for the best.
I woke up at 7:30am exactly to some missed calls, I was at Lukenya and irritable because there was traffic up ahead at Daystar. Our good driver couldn’t be caught overlapping. Haha being the best doesn’t mean it’s the best for you, but best for your safety and the law. So I just sat down and took note of all the buses that had overtaken us in the twenty minute snarl up.
KBX070S, KCF613U, KBR394B, KCD510E and Sleeping Coach Mombasa Raha.
Mercifully however, Mlolongo was clear and we speed towards Belle Vue.
We passed Elephantilicious and DreamTyme. As we went steadily on 613U past Ole Sereni. At BelleVue 070S is right in front of us 510E is right behind us. Passengers alighted
More shots
Wallace called me asking me where I was, he was impatiently waiting for the Touring. I could be of no help to him😂😂😂. I told him to just leave if he has somewhere to go.
On again, Off to Accra road
There was no traffic in town. We were in the CBD in five minutes. That is where I knew I was dealing with grown ups, lol. Instead of turning right at archives into Tuskys, he headed straight up Moi avenue and executed a three point turn to join river road up ahead
He was very very bright as we got off at Dreamline. No other bus had arrived
Accra at 8:30am sharp
I am very happy and content.

This bus gets better every time I use it, this being the third time
Lets stack up the ratings

Crew:10/10 (Mustapha My Big Brother from another mother)
Driving:10/10 (Just Wow)
Speed:8/10 (OMATA Compliant)
Customer complements: (One: to the crew for nice service {Tabitha☺}. Two: Most passengers thanked the Driver for the safe journey)
Customer Complaints: Zero

I think I won’t ever use another bus at this rate😂😂


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