The National Safety and Transport Authority (NTSA) announced in a notice that 29 licensed companies will offer a platform for cashless fare payment service as reported by Business Daily.
This is a development from a June 16 2020 tender where NTSA sought tech companies to install mobile and web apps for nearly 200,000 matatus in the country.
Firms that are permitted to offer this cashless fare system include Safaricom, Craft Silicon, JamboPay, Cellulant, KCB and NCBA.
The digital fare collection system has a number of interesting features. Passengers will be required to pay their fares via mobile money. Also thanks to identities being linked to mobile money accounts, it has the technical capability to contact trace passengers in the fight against COVID-19.
This is a bold move by the NTSA as the authority seeks another attempt at making the matatu industry cashless. This is not the first time we have seen the government attempt to transition the matatu industry from a cash only business to a cashless one.
We had the “1963” NFC prepaid fare card that was a collaboration between the Matatu Owners Association and Safaricom. We have also seen other attempts apart from cashless fares issue like Smart Matatu with the idea of taming the Kenyan Public Transport Industry using IoT.
We will have to wait and see whether this system by NTSA will work and make it smooth to pay fares in the industry. Apparently this industry grosses more than Kshs 420 billion annually which is one piece of the pie that the government wants to track and get its share from the revenues.