The National Safety and Transport Authority (NTSA) has licensed over twenty firms to offer cashless payment platforms in the Matatu industry. The move comes barely a few years since the government embarked on a mission to tame cartels in the public service vehicles industry, and has been further reinforced by the need to manage the spread of the corona virus in the country. The authority had advertised for providers in a tender notice dated June 16th, 2020 attracting several firms in the IT industry as well as financial sector.
Notably, amongst firms that have been issued with a license is Safaricom – which currently owns the largest mobile money service in the country – MPESA. Once various platforms become operational, Kenya aims to eliminate the use of cash in public service vehicles, instead using a cashless alternative that would also enable contact tracing in a bid to halt the spread of covid-19.
So far, the authority has licensed a total of 29 companies including Safaricom, Craft Silicon – owner of Little cab, JamboPay, Cellullant, CBA, and KCB. They’ll be tasked with installing a mobile based software and web application that would cater for over 200,000 public service vehicles (Matatu) in the country. Additionally, the platform will also feature a technical capability to contact trace passengers in the fight of the current pandemic.
After the cashless payment platforms have been rolled out in the sector, commuters plying various routes will have to pay for their fares using either of the licensed systems via mobile money such as MPESA, TKash and Airtel Money. In return, the government will have access to their details that would come in handy while contact tracing possible infections of the virus.
Various efforts to implement cashless payments in matatu
As of date, various efforts by the government to implement cashless platforms in the matatu sector has flopped, due to strong opposition from operators who viewed the move as a way to monitor their daily earnings. Notably, a similar move back in 2014 died from the onset.
What you’ll need to make cashless payments in matatu
Passengers will need to have a prepaid card or mobile money to make their payments. Cashless payments were intended to solve various issues in the matatu industry before the corona virus struck. They were intended to eliminate criminal cartels in the industry giving the taxman a way to track incomes in the sector. Additionally, the platform was aimed at eliminating employee fraud by the matatu crew, since employers would easily track revenue in real-time.