Kenyan government partner with tech companies including Safaricom to offer cashless payment in taxis across the country

In Kenya, matatu (known as mathree in Sheng) or matatus are privately owned minibuses.

The Kenyan government has partnered with a group of lenders and IT companies, including Safaricom to carry out cashless transactions in Public Service Vehicles (PSVs), the National Safety and Transport Authority (NTSA) said.

Other firms include are Craft Silicon (developers of taxi-hailing App-Little), JamboPay, Cellullant, KCB Bank Kenya, and CBA Bank now NCBA.

The National Safety and Transport Authority (NTSA) explained via a notice that the licensed companies will offer a platform for cashless fare payment service and that the digital fare collection system will also have the technical capability to contact trace passengers in the fight against the coronavirus disease.

Under the partnership, taxi drivers will be able to accept digital payments from passengers through the mobile money platforms, and the government can also access the identities and personal contact information needed to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

The NTSA has been pushing for the use of mobile software and web applications for the nearly 2 00,000 matatus in the country to limit or prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In 2014, the government launched a cashless fare payment platform that required passengers to get pre-paid cards or use mobile money to pay fares in PSVs.

However, the initiative was unsuccessful following strong opposition from matatu operators who felt that it was a ploy to monitor their daily earnings for taxation measures.

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