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PSVs want law passed on cashless system

Public transport operators have asked the government to rethink its strategy on the implementation of the cashless payment system which, they say, is yet to be adopted one-and-a-half months after its introduction.

Despite the ban on cash payments in public service vehicles in December last year, many public service vehicles still collect fares in hard cash, raising fears that the system, which operators were relying on to curb corruption in the industry, will fail.

The Matatu Welfare Association (MWA) said the system is yet to pick up because key service providers were not prepared in terms of equipment and other requirements.

“It is clearly evident that the transacting banks were not ready; PSV crews were not trained on the use of the gadgets, and a majority of PSV employees have not been engaged on contracts that will make them welcome the system,” said MWA’s Dickson Mbugua.

The Matatu Owners Association (MOA) said the system was not picking up as expected because of lack of legislation to support it.

“The ban on cash payments was only a statement by the cabinet secretary; there should be a government policy on the system and enough public awareness done,” said MOA national coordinator Albert Karagacha.

MATATU FARE

MWA has demanded the immediate formation of a task force by the government and stakeholders to scrutinize the system and come up with a policy on how it would be implemented.

The operators also maintained that they will not reduce fares despite a drop in fuel prices and pressure from the government and the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek). The operators cited increases in operating costs.

On Saturday, Cofek secretary-general Stephen Mutoro said despite the increase in operating costs, the drop in fuel prices ought to bring down fares.

“In our cost assessment, fuel accounts for more than 40 pc of operating costs. With an average 10 pc reduction in fuel pricing, we agree with the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure that fares must come down,” he said.

On Friday, Transport Secretary Michael Kamau threatened to intervene to cushion commuters if the operators do not lower their fares to match the drop in the cost of fuel.

“Should the transport operators fail to voluntarily effect this reduction, the government may consider the legal options to protect consumers and ensure fair and reasonable practice in the public service vehicle industry,” he said.

But Mr Mbugua said the transport industry is a free market where prices are determined by supply and demand.