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Cards set to replace cash in matatus

By ISAAC MESO and ELEANOR NANDWA | May 28th 2014

NAIROBI, KENYA: In two months, passengers will be paying with cards — not cash — to ride in matatus.

Players in the matatu industry yesterday revealed that they were at an advanced stage on the road to introducing  a cashless payment system ahead of the July 1 deadline set by the Government.

The Government, through Legal Notice No. 219 of the National Transport Safety Authority Act that was gazetted on December 17 last year, required all matatu owners to introduce a cashless payment system before July.

The Chairman of Matatu Owners Association (MOA) Simon Kimutai said they had partnered with a local company, Fibre Space Limited, to introduce prepaid cards for passengers and point-of-sale terminals for owners of matatu saccos.

The company is also expected to install “black boxes” in all matatus which will keep a video record of all the activities in the vehicles to reduce the insecurity brought about by terrorism.

Improve business

“It is time for us in the matatu industry to embrace technology and use it to improve our business. This is why we have partnered with this technology company to come up with a cashless payment system that will boost revenue by 30 per cent for matatu owners,” he said.

Kimutai said this when he met members and officials of matatu Saccos from various parts of the country in Nairobi. He was accompanied by officials from MOA and Matatu Welfare Association.

Mwakio Ngale, General Manager, Fibre Space Limited, said that the new cards, which go by the name 1963 cards, will be used by commuters to pay fares on all 1963-compliant matatus and buses.

“Commuters will access this cards for free by registering with a 1963 agent. However, for their card to be activated they will be required to top it up with a minimum of Sh50,” said Ngale.

The use of the cards will also curb the menace of hiking of fares during peak hours as it will allow a fair pricing system with no issuance of change.

The card also has a redeemable points system that provides a loan of up to 10 per cent. Ngale  noted that the use of new technology will create jobs especially for the youths.

It will also create staff discipline and stem loss of millions of shillings to cartels, thieving crews and corrupt police officers, according to Kimutai.

“Divers and touts will be on monthly salaries,” said Kimutai.

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