Matatu owners in fresh bid enforce cashless fare system


A MOA Compliant bus. Nine Eastlands matatu saccos switched to the cashless fare payment system Monday. PHOTO | FILE

Owners of public service vehicles plying Eastlands routes have launched a fresh bid to implement the cashless fare payment system, saying previous efforts have been frustrated by touts who are not keen on the implementation. 

The Matatu owners have employed 50 route managers to oversee the enforcement.

This is the second time that the nine PSV Saccos that have 410 vehicles plying Nairobi’s Jogoo Road route have announced the switch-over to the cashless fare system, following an earlier attempt in December.

The switch is also in compliance with a directive by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), which said it will make the cashless payment system a licensing condition.

On Monday, the nine Saccos — Royal Swift, Mwamba, Umoinner, Pin Point, Prime East, Compliant, C-Bet, ROG, and Oma — announced that they had switched to the cashless fare payment system.

Stealing from Sacco owners

By the time of going to press the Saccos could not provide figures of commuters who had registered for My 1963 payment cards, which are exclusively topped up through Safaricom’s mobile money transfer, M-Pesa, or through its agents.

READ: Cashless fare system opens new window for investors

Christopher Muia, Umoinner Sacco chairman, told the Business Daily in an interview that the Saccos were targeting at least 60 per cent of commuters who use their vehicles to register for the card.

“As Sacco owners we must take a position that will see the cashless implementation is a success, if this is left in the hands of touts the cashless payment system will never succeed. Touts or conductors have been frustrating this move because it will seal the loophole of stealing from Sacco owners,” Mr Muia said.

The cashless system will mean fixed fares, minimising fare hikes during rainy seasons and at peak traffic hours.

The system will also see drivers and touts put on formal salaries, with health benefits and credit facilities.

On Monday, the Saccos announced that the route managers will board each matatu to check that all passengers have receipts.

The Saccos operate the largest fleet of matatus along Jogoo Road and run routes such as Kayole, Donholm, Umoja, Outer Ring, Civil Servants, Buruburu, and Uhuru Estate.