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Deadline for switch to cashless fare postponed

The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has dropped the deadline for switching to cashless fare payment.

NTSA director-general Francis Meja  on Thursday said that only after majority of commuters obtain smart cards would the agency start enforcing their use in public service vehicles (PSVs)

“Let’s observe first to see the uptake and when we feel that we’ve reached a number where we can strictly enforce the requirement, then we’ll do that. But that day is coming soon, when you will not be able to move without that card,” he said.

This means that the agency has abandoned its earlier directive that all PSVs adopt the cashless fare payment model by this month.

DIFFICULTIES

Some commuters who tried to use the cards experienced difficulties, with matatu crew claiming that card readers were yet to be installed in vehicles.

But Mr Meja described the hurdles as teething problems, adding that the system will eventually be embraced.

Operators of the model have stepped up recruitment of commuters with Kenya Commercial Bank, which launched the Pepea paycard, last week saying it had signed up 100,000 people and was targeting one million by mid-January.

Other cards in the market include BebaPay by Equity Bank and Google, 1963 by Safaricom and Fibre Space, and Abiria by KCB and Kenya Bus Service.

The government expects all PSVs to comply with the system in the next one year as renewal of their annual licences will be tied to compliance.

“From December 1, no PSV will be cleared by the motor vehicle inspection unit unless they have evidence that the cashless system is in place,” said Transport secretary Michael Kamau in a speech read by Mr Meja.