Travel Report Aboard Simba Coach P360 OptiCruise Christened ‘Habari Mnayo’ by Volkan Kalama – Travel Date 25th May, 2017

Now when you get to love a bus, you give it part of your heart, I rode a P360 and since then I’ve always wanted to sample one. So the only P360 that was within my range was Simba Coach. As every proper gentleman does I called Boss Robert Nyale to book a date with a P360 highly anticipating for the new unit- HABARI MNAYO( new buses make you feel the ish ish, experience it in its full glamour, all sockets working etc.), this time I requested for VIP#1, ligi things you know.
Now my fellow enthusiasts, this is a bus and a half, just seamlessly perfect, that’s my own verdict! Never before had I encountered such finesse on a local, such was on the Higers only, mainly Bamboocha and the Cummins variants.
Turbo spooling check, swift and smooth gear hunting and changes just made the whole experience one of a life time. One thing I observed this bus is good on the suspension and handling, I’ll call it wiggly feet because of how swift the bus could change lanes that is overtake and handle corners with ease, Higer A80 same thing.
I arrived in town much earlier and managed to see Tahmeed arrive way much early that was at around 3:40 pm and stayed there for a while, Dreamline # dreamteam came in packed its share of cargo and passengers and left by 4:30 (it’s a time keeping thing you know, their business). We were the second bus to depart and left Eldoret in hot pursuit of Dreamline and to avoid being caught up with the Malaba Simba, the first driver isn’t familiar and the crew I haven’t seen except for one since BORN TO RULE and ALWAYS PLAY TO WIN, travelled with him a few times though.
As the journey started I couldn’t help capture the attention of the neighbour’s at the rear who were a mother and the son, they got busy demanding for a movie while I got busy taking snaps and recording audio of the Engine brake, that sound of the engine brake is worth sacrificing , trust me.
Fast forward as we approached Salgaa interchange we came across Stepper logistics Team joining A104 hot (I thought the bus had two Kanyari with tag axles only to be proved wrong by the crew who were having a chat)and man, the driver behind the wheel was good on his gears, good enough to approach the hill guns blazing from behind us overtake us just on the climbing lane and off he left (410 vs 310, auto vs manual, video evidence is available as we tried play catch-up but finally overtook them downhill, disappointed, I know)
7:19 Nakuru
I don’t fancy taking meals after some incident I had some couple of years back. All I had was a bottle of water and a chocolate bar. We were given a few minutes which all I did was rush to the loo, empty my bladder, take a few snaps and get back to my seat. Checking on my chocolate I found it’s melted, all that remained of the solid bar was some jelly like stuff. Now this bus had some weird characteristic,the floor was quite hot which I guess melted my chocolate. Anyways moving on swiftly one of the drivers came over from behind and joined us at the front, laid his paraphernalia (read as pillows and mattress) and as usual proceeded with crew chitchat, being odd in the conversations they were having, I slipped on my headset and aha just then Bribist texted to remind me of a report.
Off we left Nakuru.
The ease at which we hit 80 is quick, you can easily tell the shifts, gear skips and as the new bae hunts for the gears, maintaining 80kph is also easily achieved and all the driver gets to do is glide the bus on the tarmac with one hand on his lap singing along to his playlist, kind of got me into a fantasy, get to own my optimised Scania, the driver mad it look so much easy to drive!
This driver (#1) was quite courteous, giving space, allowing overlaps and once got me recording some audio and I had to explain what I was doing, I’m riding my bus crush you know, and all moments need to be captured and recorded to act as a reminder.
Something I’d like to add, this bus is agile (should be the whole series), how it could accelerate brake and switch lanes was just pure bliss , at one point I saw how scared the occupants of a matatu were as were came to a dead stop on a T junction
8:00 cleared out of some minor traffic jam just outside Nakuru with no buses in sight, this was pretty much all the way to Nairobi.
The bus relatively does the hill climb out of Elementaita with ease at around 75kph, couldn’t see the gear it was on (the seat is far off and is just like riding shotgun, cant glance well on the dash) no strain on the engine, turbo spooling and the hiss is just a little bit low but audible to note when accelerating and coasting.
2030 we encounter the first +256 bound bus, should be Kalita this is around Kikopey area
2051 we arrived at the weighbridge and get some minor traffic caused by the large number of trucks waiting to be served.
2058 we come across modern p410 followed hot on the heels by Buscar Cinemax and Crown bus trailing them.
I also get a chance to see Simba coach trailed by the White turismo (first time to see it in the dark)
2106 finally the movie is stopped and the screens are turned off, time to now listen to swii and concentrate on ligi.
2138 we are at Kinale forest smelling Nairobi, the air is chily but floor is still hot. The driver is now a smooth operator maintining a constant 80kph and now using the engine brake.
1020 we arrived at the Nairobi office. We found a Golden Dragon loading and Buscar departing(this particular bus turned out to be tough meat), couple other buses pass by leaving Nairobi(Churchill Tourbus, Chania from Nyeri and 2 Simba Kanyari, one I remember used to do Malindi, Coast bus I guess all are 10.30 buses)
2250 depart from the office only to encounter some mk210 blocking the road and is hooted for severely to clear the road. After which we leave town and it was now time to tame A109 and its creatures of the night.
Along the highway we manage to leave Churchill and Gold Dust loading at their south B office, first creatures to be dropped of the list. Today I never managed to see TJ (Eumir) at the usual place where I usually call him from the window.
A few minutes we found our first victim ,a mash KCA 768M(nyama ngumu pia hii) at around Mlolongo we trailed him patiently for around 20, each attempted overtake becoming a failed attempt. Afew mins later we managed make a tough breakfast out of the Mash, The Kanyari could quickly accelerate but take time to arrive at top end(80kph)so we ended up making good of him at top end, the beauty of power you know.
Afew minutes later w meet up with KCK 269C trailing an NTSA Peugot (sema kubania toka toka) then from the blues the tough mash zooms past and friends, it was a hard time catching up, coz by the time we were done with the trucks hindering us, these two fellas were nowhere to be seen, not even in the horizon.
Just a note it was at this stretch that we once got whooped by a 3340 truck, story for another day.
From far I spot Dreamline ahead, mash playing catch-up but clearly the Dreamline P360 was clearly making use of all the 360 ponnies it had at its disposal, conquering hill like no bus business.
Saw a fleet of 3 Coast buses with one which seemed in distress (hazard triangles had been laid down)and voila the mash showed up its, just at close to Machakos junction, boy he could accelerate well yes but had a problem reaching top end so made breakfast out of him, again.
Just as the fun was beginning to get in, the driver decided to enter the petrol station since there was no stop over at Mtito and felt crushed because we had lost a battle to the Mash(tough meat) and Dreamline P360
As we resumed we managed to meet up with KCF 675U, and it was now to let animals play. Coast bus KBK 804J is within vicinity, Dreamline seems to have made away so we make a meal out of it and move on to get Dreamline ahead
We manage to chase the Dreamline in the hopes to subdue it, with turbos spooling and speed at constant 80,non could outgun the other therefore it was a game of skill, that would tell who wins.
Now enthusiasts, its fun seeing a bus on a curve, indicators flashing, getting ready for the next kill, the view is quite spectacular and after a short pursuit Dreamline falls and no other bus lays ahead in the vicinity.
Fast forward I manage a to see a bus move ahead and just goes like its been bitten by gnats, simply can’t catch it, it just widens gap with time.
Palmers Yutong, a Dreamline bus and Buscar Kanyari(the last bus from Nairobi) at Emali and my eyes feast as these buses try outdoor each other in that order. I can tell you for free that all the attempts to catch the three were futile, we never managed to catch any of them.
0355 we branch for Voi town to drop some goods and a passenger, at this point my phone was almost flat and attempts to request for power in the sockets were futile, its at this point I got discouraged, summoned all the boredom and attempted to sleep.
Finally arrived in Mombasa a few minutes shy of 0800
No ratings would be given on the crew or entertainment
Bus 9/10
Ride 7/10
Facilities 7/10
I’d definitely recommend the bus to anyone.
Disclaimer only Bribist and Nyale can throw stones, all others have been declined.

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