Telecommunication company, Safaricom is among a group of lender and IT companies in Kenya that have been licensed to offer cashless payments in Public Service Vehicles (PSVs), setting the stage for the ban of use of cash in public transport.
The Business Daily reports that the National Safety and Transport Authority (NTSA) issued a notice licensing the 29 companies to offer a platform for cashless fare payment service. The authority had on June 16, 2020, advertised tender seeking tech companies that will install mobile software and web applications for the nearly 200,000 matatus in the country. It said that this digital fare collection system will also have the technical capability to contact trace passengers should any cases of coronavirus be reported within the commuters
If the pilot project will go through, all passengers will be required to pay their fares via mobile money platforms and by doing so, they provide their identities and personal contact information to NTSA, which it says will be easy to coordinate. Craft Silicon, JamboPay, Cellullant, KCB Bank Kenya, and NCBA are also among the companies that have been engaged for this exercise.
NTSA’s announcement comes two months after O-City, a UK-based firm announced its entry into Kenya in an initiative meant to drive contactless payments across Nairobi’s 10,000 matatu industry. O-CITY said its automated fare collection dubbed ‘Lipa Fare’ would leverage on Safaricom’s mobile money, M-PESA to offer an accessible payment solution by enabling customers to enter a code on their phone and a debit will be made on their wallet, which can be instantly seen by drivers to grant access to ride. The project is also in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and it aims to reduce physical handling of cash money. Kenya’s transport savings and credit specialists, NikoDigi, and payments firm, Tracom are partnering with O-City and we’re yet to see the progress of this initiative.