The cashless fares system has over the past few months been of emphasis in the public vehicle service with the sector expected to meet the 1st July deadline (one week ago) which would see commuters use plastic money henceforth.
Transport cabinet secretary Michael Kamau has however assured matatu owners that they will not be victimized for not having compiled with new cashless fare system. This means responsible bodies in the sector will be spared charges that would see them face jail terms for failing to adhere.
According to the cabinet secretary, some financial institutions have have not finalized work to allow usability of the system and it will take a little more time to allow data collection on the same before implementation.
The relief comes days after the matatu Owners association asked the government to extend deadline to allow gradual transition for the public following hi-cups from both the commuters and companies responsible for the service roll out.
Among aims to launch the system is to curb corruption in public transport as well as have the public enjoy convenient and efficient payment services which will regulate fares unlike the current situation with uncalled for hikes.
How applicable is the system?
Well, this could be a dream come true for many, anytime. Being a frequent commuter on the Kenyan roads, I am definitely fed up with hikes that are enacted anytime tragedy strikes may it be natural which in this case would mean the rainy seasons or rather artificial which in many cases is the strike of Public service vehicles or crack downs unleashed from time to time by the police.
Rush hours also call for extra coin in the city which at times is unbelievable to what extent they go. Any stressed situation is an opportunity for this matatu crew. Matatu owners are also on the losing end if you would think for a minute extra monies go to their pockets. Extra trips done without their knowledge has seen owners lose about 30 per cent revenue.
The system would do more good than harm but this has to be inspired by various factors from parties of interest. At least 75 per cent of commuters have to own an active fare payment card linked to financial institutions, matatu conductors have to be equipped with gadgets for the purpose which is not the case in a good number of PSVs where a conductor will decline your card in claims of not having the gadget and therefore asking for liquid cash instead.
This has put off many commuters who don’t see loading the card as important since it has not been a practical system despite the government’s emphasis. Many cards lie idle in wallets just in case it would mean not travelling without one which is the wrong reason to purchase one it feels like ‘just because the government said so’. Other commuters have called upon the government to roll out education on the same which has been casually carried out by agents in commuter vehicles.
The official roll out will definitely take more than four months of work by both the government and public in order to drive the project’s objective home.