Nairobi News

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Why cashless matatu system stalled

Pockets of resistance and reported sabotage from public transport vehicle owners and operators forced the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to postpone implementation of the cashless switch to fare payment in the industry.

Inadequate sensitization and education on the use of the smart cards to the target audience, and mainly the passengers and conductors also contributed to the implementation of the initiative.

“I do not even know where to get this card, let alone how it is used, why all this hurry,” one commuter posed to Nairobi News?

While postponing the enforcement of use of cashless system for the second time in six months last week, NTSA director-general Francis Meja said last week that only after a majority of commuters obtain smart cards would the agency start enforcing their use on public service vehicles (PSVs).


“Let’s observe and see the public’s uptake and when we feel we’ve reached a number that we can enforce the requirement, then we’ll do it,” Meja said

Other concerns that could undermine the success of this project, Nairobi News understands, is the challenges that the aged and semi-literate are likely to encounter while using the system.

Questions have also been raised as to what could happen in case of an inevitable system breakdown.

Stakeholders in the business are also concerned about how and if commissions  – spinning into billions of shillings annually – that will be accrued by the service providers of this system, will be of benefit to them.

A spot check by Nairobi News discovered that more than 95 percent of the public transport vehicles in the city are yet to conform to the new system, with passengers still paying for the transportation service through cash.