1 July 2014

Kenya: Cashless PSV Pay Mode Fails to Take Off

Nairobi — The cashless fare payment mode in Public Service Vehicles did not take off as planned on Tuesday as operators failed to meet the deadline.

The Matatu Welfare Association Chairman Dickson Mbugua attributed this to the lack of proper coordination between the stakeholders in the transport industry and the government.

He further pointed out that many operators and even commuters still don't know how the system will work and emphasised the need for a sensitisation exercise to be undertaken first.

"Most people do not know what is entailed in this whole process. It is something new and though it is good, there has to be some way of educating people about its advantages and what benefits it will bring," he stated.

While stating that only about 500 vehicles in Nairobi had complied, he stressed the need for the change to be gradual so as not to affect commuters.

He further indicated that government needs to ensure that all stakeholders are on board before going on to implement the initiative.

He stated that the cost of the system has to be looked into so that PSV operators are not ripped off.

Nairobi Traffic Commandant Edward Mwamburi told Capital FM News that no crackdown would take place since he had not yet received any instructions to do.

The new cashless pay system is set to revamp the transport sector once Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) comply with the requirement.

The "My1963″ card is to be used on all PSVs around the country to help bring order to the system.

According to the Matatu Owners Association, the cashless mode of payment will also ensure 100 percent returns on revenue earned.

Speaking to Capital FM News, Chairman Simon Kimutai indicated that the system which was to take effect on July 1 will reduce corruption as transactions will be through the swiping of a card loaded with credit on a reader machine.

He stated that currently, 30 percent of revenue earned is lost due to corruption and points out that the system will streamline the PSV sector and return sanity on the roads as the operations will not overlap in a bid to earn extra money.

"We will be able to provide a better employment structure for workers. When this new structure was proposed, the benefits are for every one the employer, passenger and employee," he said. "It is better for the operators to earn at the end of the month as opposed to giving them money on a daily basis. They would be able to take advantage of the various benefits there are."

He encouraged commuters to take advantage of the system by buying the cards from various outlets as this will ensure that they get efficient services.

"This is a very simple technology where we will be able to have machines where cards are provided to service users which are then loaded with credit. When you embark on a journey, the amount paid will be in direct proportion to the distance travelled," he said.

A spot check by Capital FM News revealed that despite the July 1 deadline for the vehicles to comply, passengers were still paying cash for their fares.

A number of Kenyans on Twitter expressed different opinions on the introduction of the system. @KennStiffler this one is a great initiative. Come to think of no more corrupting police, standard fare etc #cashlessmatatu I support it.

#cashlessMatatu is great idea but disadvantage is how will someone get fare back when a matatu breaks down or police arrest the driver.

#cashlessmatatu is a good idea but it needs to run in parallel with cash for a while to get Kenyans used to the idea.

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