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Matatus unveil cashless system

Thursday June 5 2014

From left, Matatu Owners Association chairman Simon Kimutai, Nairobi senator Mike Mbuvi Sonko and Tigania East MP Mpuri Aburi during the launch of a cashless payment system. Matatu owners in Mombasa have introduced a cashless payment system for commuters, ahead of the July 1 deadline for public service vehicles to stop accepting fares in cash. Currently, more than 20,000 commuters are said to be using the card in Nairobi. PHOTO / SALATON NJAU

From left, Matatu Owners Association chairman Simon Kimutai, Nairobi senator Mike Mbuvi Sonko and Tigania East MP Mpuri Aburi during the launch of a cashless payment system. Matatu owners in Mombasa have introduced a cashless payment system for commuters, ahead of the July 1 deadline for public service vehicles to stop accepting fares in cash. Currently, more than 20,000 commuters are said to be using the card in Nairobi. PHOTO / SALATON NJAU 

WACHIRA MWANGI
By WACHIRA MWANGI
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Matatu owners in Mombasa have introduced a cashless payment system for commuters.

The move by Mombasa Matatu Owners Association comes ahead of the July 1 deadline for public service vehicles to stop accepting cash as fare.

“Today we have demonstrated to them (matatu operators) how it works and we want them to own them,” said Mr Mwakio Ngale, the general manager of Fibre Space Ltd, which has partnered with the matatu owners in the project.

He said commuters would get My1963 cards, which they would load with cash and use to pay for their fare.

“There is a lot of efficiency in our device as the gadget is designed to accept fares as low as Sh10 to a maximum of Sh1,000 or Sh5,000 depending on the region,” Mr Ngale said.

He said commuters would get a receipt indicating the registration number of the matatu, time of pay and the conductor’s name.

He said this would help improve the security and service of matatus.

DEADLINE

Mr Ngale noted that more than 27 saccos in Mombasa County had so far registered to adopt their payment system before the Ministry of Transport deadline.

“Our mandate is to make sure that we go cashless by end of June. We are prepared, we have a point of sale. We will open an office next week to enable us to reach the entire Coast region,” he said.

The gadgets can be acquired on lease at Sh5,000 per month for five months to act as a security deposit.

Mr Ngale said the money is refundable if a matatu owner wants to pull out.

Currently, more than 20,000 commuters using the card in Nairobi.

Mombasa is the second town to adopt the cashless system of paying fare.

The multibillion-shilling public transport sector had gained notoriety for road carnage, corruption and rogue crews, hence the attempts to restore sanity in the industry.

The ministry has set July 1 as the deadline for matatus to adopt the digital payment system.