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Economy

Matatus eye cashless system in virus fight

Public service vehicles
Public service vehicles in Nairobi city centre. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Matatus in Nairobi are turning to cashless fare payments in efforts to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19).

City- based tech firm Information Technology & Services is piloting a mobile fare payment service under its Mobiticket brand with three matatu Saccos namely Double M which plies routes in Eastlands and Kawangware, Thika Road transporter Nawasuku and Integrity Intercity that plies Thika Road and Kikuyu.

Efforts to roll-out card payments for public service vehicle (PSVs) fares flopped in 2015, with matatu operators giving the idea a lukewarm welcome in preference for cash payments.

“We have noted a rise in numbers of passengers embracing the e-ticketing option following the coronavirus pandemic,” said Nickson Nyakambi, founder of Information Technology & Services. The tech firm is currently testing the service in Nairobi on matatus plying Thika Road and those servicing Kawangware, Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and Komarock.

Mobiticket allows passengers to book, pay and get bus tickets using their mobile phones. Through hand-held devices, conductors can get alerts for when payment is made.

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Passengers without smartphones can pay and get tickets through a USSD code that allows the conductor to see the transaction in real time.

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