Motorists seeking to use the Nairobi Expressway from this Saturday will not be allowed to pay via M-Pesa in the early days of its operations, limiting their options to cash and electronic cards.
Officials told the Business Daily the decision to delay M-Pesa payments was because transactions via cash were seen as quick and “M-Pesa payment would result in traffic congestion at tolling points”.
“No M-Pesa payment at the moment. It is still in consideration. It will be there in the future,” a spokesperson of Moja Expressway, a subsidiary of China Road and Bridge Corporation, which built the road, told the Business Daily.
Millions of Kenyans pay for a majority of services via mobile money service and the delay in including it in the payment options will limit motorists who wish to use the road without using cash or cards.
The company has unveiled a discount system to boost card payments for motorists that will load their cards with a minimum of Sh2,000 in toll points as part of a plan to woo more users on the road.
Kenya National Highway Authority deputy director for corporate communication Samwel Kumba said motorists using Electronic Toll Cards on the road will get a five percent discount every time they load their cards with Sh2,000 points.
Road users planning to use Manual Toll Cards will get a two percent discount when they load a minimum of Sh2,000 in points on their cards.
“The discount on both electronic and manual toll cards applies for as long as you are using the road at least for now. However, you must load your card with a minimum of Sh2,000 points,” Mr Kumba told the Business Daily query on Tuesday.
Motorists have either the option of registering to use a manual payment system or installing an automatic payment system, which will allow them to go through tolling stations faster.
Those using manual tolling cards are required to have a national identity card (ID) to register for the card, which will cost Sh300 for installation service charge and at least Sh1,000 must be loaded in points.
Electronic tolling card users will be required to produce an ID and the logbook of the vehicle being registered and pay a Sh1,000 installation service charge and a minimum of Sh2,000 to be loaded onto the card.
Motorists under the same category planning to use the road when it will be opened for public use starting Saturday who load their points with Sh5,000 in toll points will not pay an installation service charge.
“Road users can also pay via cash to use the road depending on the size of the vehicle,” he said.
The Sh88 billion expressway will be opened this month depending on President Uhuru Kenyatta’s calendar. It links Mlolongo to the Nairobi-Nakuru highway via Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
Motorists will pay between Sh120-Sh1,800, up from the previous rates of between Sh100-Sh1,550 to use the road.
The government last month increased the charges to cushion the Chinese investor funding the road against exchange losses in the wake of the shilling weakening to record lows against the dollar.
The new rates are based on the dollar trading as of last December, which was Sh113.14 up from Sh103.79 in 2020.