Kenyans commuting in certain matatus will now have an option to pay for their fares via Mpesa rather than carrying cash that’s been linked to highly likely transmit the Corona virus through contact with infected people. The current trend is introducing the use of cashless payments in almost every sector in the country and for a good reason. A much as we’d effectively practice social distancing and disinfecting our hands every now and then, carrying cash has always been a thorn likely to undermine all of these efforts in curbing the spread of the virus.
However, we can now breathe easy as most merchants as well as public service transport operators now accept cashless payments via Mpesa mobile money thanks to Safaricom. Safaricom earlier on when the first patients of Corona virus were confirmed in the country, partnered with public transport sector players to accept cashless payments through Mpesa.
It should also be noted that the government has always strived to introduce cashless payments in the matatu sector as a means to stem cartels in in the sector without success. We all remember the now vanished pepea card from KCB as well as others that failed miserably in eliminating the need for commuters to pay cash by just swiping their cards every time they boarded a matatu.
Speaking on the partnership, Safaricom’s Chief Financial Services Officer Sitoyo Lopokoiyit noted that many businesses were seeing an increase in demand for Mpesa payments after the effects of Corona virus and that Safaricom’s move to eliminate transaction fees on KES 1,000 and below made it easier. He also acknowledged the move to partner with different public transit players brought convenience and safety of M-PESA to the crucial sector given the widespread uptake of public transport across the country.
Currently, the cashless matatu fare through Mpesa service has already been deployed to more than 300 City Star Shuttle vehicles in Nairobi and will be rolled out to additional players in the coming days, helping them further comply with the Government’s recommendations to combat the spread of Coronavirus.
How to Pay for matatu fare using Mpesa
Passengers paying their fares through the service will follow the standard procedure when sending money to another person, keying the number provided by the crew.
- Matatu crew will provide an Mpesa number such as 0720000000, rather than till number as is with many merchants
- To pay, Mpesa customers need to head-over to Mpesa menu, select “Send Money”
- Then select “Enter Phone no”
- Put the number given by the crew followed by fare amount and your Mpesa PIN
By accepting Mpesa payments, the matatu sector will be implementing a vital measure to help minimize the impact of Coronavirus to its customers and to help them avoid the use of cash, Safaricom has announced all its M-PESA customers can Send Money for free for transactions of KES 1,000 and below for a 90 day period.