Nairobi News

Must ReadNews

Matatu crews reject cashless payment plan

Resistance by matatu crews could become the biggest hurdle to the envisaged adoption of a cashless system.

Those who spoke to Nairobi News said there were too many emergencies on the roads that need cash. They said they preferred a dual system that would allow those wishing to continue paying cash to do so.

“Some routes have cartels and ‘stage managers’ who also need their cut. Then what happens when the vehicle breaks down? You need some cash for immediate repairs,” said James Waithaka, a tout on Route 48.

Reuben Githii, a driver on Route 110 also raised some concerns: “Sometimes you will have to transfer the affected passengers to another vehicle or give them a refund when your vehicle breaks down. How will that happen?”

All public service vehicles will be expected to have migrated to the cashless system by July 1 as per the Operation of Public Service Vehicles Regulations 2013, also referred to as the Kamau Rules.

The rule on payment is designed to ensure the crew do not handle cash, thereby making it harder to bribe police officers.

It is also expected to bring sanity back to the roads as matatus are driven recklessly to make as many roundtrips as possible for the crew to make extra money.

Matatu Owners Association chairman Simon Kimutai said investors had for a long time endured theft by PSV crews due to lack of an accounting system.

He added that the six months would be enough for the migration despite there being no public sensitisation at the moment.

“I’ve raised the issue with the stakeholders; the ministry should take up public awareness campaign as well as the service providers including Google, Equity, Orange, Safaricom. If the public is on board, then the operators will follow,” he said.

Different payment systems have been developed with the most notable being Safaricom’s Lipa na M-Pesa and the tap-to-pay debit card dubbed Beba Pay by Google and Equity.