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Crisis looms in matatu sector as deadline on cashless fare lapses

By Rawlings Otieno | Jun 30th 2014 | 2 min read
By Rawlings Otieno | June 30th 2014

Commuters in Nairobi could be stranded tomorrow if the new rules requiring matatu crew to use electronic payment systems take effect.

Matatu Welfare Association (MWA) said of the over 20,000 Public Service Vehicles (PSVs), only about 2,000 had complied by last Friday as police vowed to crack down on conductors caught collecting cash from passengers.

The association wants Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau to suspend the operationalisation of the cashless fare payment in all  PSVs and address their concerns first.

MWA Chairman Dickson Mbugua said the public and matatu operators were not yet ready for the cashless fare system, arguing that rigorous education and awareness has not been done effectively.

Addressing the Press yesterday in Nairobi, Mr Mbugua cautioned the Government against subjecting PSV operators to exploitation by some opportunistic corporates.

“The cost of the system has to be looked into so that PSV operators are not subjected to rip off as witnessed in the implementation of the digital speed governors,” added Mbugua.

Nairobi has a population of more than three million people, who mostly use matatus to their places of work.

Prison terms

Non-compliant operators face fines of not more than Sh100,000 and prison terms not exceeding one year, according to regulations gazetted by the National Trasport and Safety Authority (NTSA) last year.

The cashless system will first be implemented in Nairobi before being rolled out to other parts of the country, a move Mbugua claims will inconvenience the passengers if not done correctly.

Already the Nairobi Traffic Commandant Charlton Muriithi and NTSA officials have announced that they would push matatu owners to comply since they had been given ample time.

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