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Cashlite cards matatu system comes into force in city

The National Road Safety Authority has announced that commuters boarding public service vehicles from Kencom, GPO and Ambassador stages will have to pay using cashlite cards only as from Tuesday.

This means that the buses that pick up at those stages and their passengers will have to arm themselves with the machines and the cards respectfully before the deadline.

This new directive flies in the face of the reality that a good number of commuters are still exclusively using cash to pay fare.

In acknowledgement of the passengers’ reluctance to adopt new technology, the NTSA said an advertisement that: “PSV users are hereby informed that the card providers will be at the above mentioned stages to issue the public with cards at no cost. (They) are further advised that the card providers will be available to assist on the usage of cashlite cards.”

However, even as the NTSA seemingly struggles to make the transition into the new payment system smoother for all stakeholders, the Matau Welfare Association (MWA) feels that the government is pushing the technology down people’s throats.

IMPOSSIBLE TO IMPLEMENT

Even though the association will not be affected by Tuesday’s deadline since none of its members use the aforementioned stages, MWA feels the government is moving too fast to implement a system that is fraught with weaknesses.

“No efforts have been made to educate the public on the usefulness of the cashlite system or even show them how the cards work. Most matatus also do not have the till machines that will enable card use, despite many of them paying Sh10,000 for the machines,” said MWA chairman, Mr Dickson Mbugua.

He said that there is a shortage of the till machines which has made it impossible to implement the cashlite system across the country.

“The four banks that are supposed to provide the machines, that is, Equity Bank, Family Bank, Cooperative Bank and Kenya Comercial Bank, have admitted that that they do not have enough of them. So how does the government expect us to comply?” he posed.

Mr Mbugua said that it was for that and related reasons that MWA will be going to court to challenge the government directive that matatus must have the machines installed before they can get their road licenses renewed.