9 June 2014

Kenya: Cashless Fares to Remove Cartels in Matatu Industry

IMPLEMENTATION of cashless fare payments will help restore investors' confidence and bring sanity in public service transport, Transport PS Nduva Muli has said.

By the end of this month, all public service vehicles owners are expected to have installed cashless systems on their fleet.

Starting July 1, it will be illegal for matatus to collect cash from passengers, according to the transport regulations gazetted in February.

Muli said they do not expect any resistance with regard to compliance with the regulation as the idea had been suggested and championed by PSV owners.

He said the government is only providing a legal backing and facilitation for the successful roll-out.

"This is an industry-led programme so we do not expect any resistance in enforcement," Muli said.

He said the system will help matatu owners to be in control of their earnings, which will boost investment in the industry.

Muli said the system will streamline the matatu industry by removing cartels and cushioning passengers from "unnecessary and erratic" increase in fare.

A number of service providers including Safaricom (Lipa na M-Pesa), Equity and Google (Bebapay) and Fibre Space (My1963) have introduced the service in partnership with some saccos on various routes.

Matatu Owners Association chairman Simon Kimutai said the system will seal the leakages through which matatu owners have been losing money.

"A successful roll-out of this system will make the industry professional and make matatu business worth investing in," he said.

Kimutai said the system will eliminate corruption involving police and matatu crews as well as stem rising number of carjackings.

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