Commuters using public transport buses at the GPO and Kencom terminals in Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD) have been treated to a shock earlier today after waking up to the sight of administration police officers (AP) who were manning buses to ensure that no passenger would get on board without the payment plastic cards that are being used in the cashless system.
The government introduced legislation for the cashless system in the public transport last year with the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) initially setting a July 1 2014 deadline by which all public service vehicles (PSV’s) were to operate within or face fines.
As is the norm with all deadlines issued by the government, the period was extended by another couple of months to last December but it was never enforced.
A number of payment cards were introduced into the market by banks, IT and bus companies, with US technology giant Google in partnership with Equity Bank becoming the first to introduce the popular ‘BebaPay’ cards in the market in 2013.
BebaPay became effective for only a short while after which it became ineffective due to resistance from matatu operators, who have been fighting off the cashless system from the onset as they stand to lose from their usual pilferage if the system is affected.
Most passengers who would hand over the cards to the touts to pay their fare were usually greeted with a rude; “I don’t have the smartphone to swipe the card.”
Technology firm Fibre Space also positioned itself to cash in on the cashless fare system with the introduction of the ‘My1963′ card which enables passengers to load money from popular mobile banking platform M-Pesa, and pay their fare without using cash and the Kenya Bus Service (KBS) also unveiled their ‘Abiria’ card.
CASHLESS SYSTEM TO CURB CORRUPTION
Pilferage of money collected from passengers robs not only investors but also government of millions of dollars in taxes.
As the December deadline drew close, The Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) entered the cashless fare system market with a bang and launched its multi-functional transit debit card; Pepea on 1 December 2014.
The master enabled debit card can be used to make payment in over 35 million outlets worldwide and it is an EMV card hence giving consumers optimal security against fraud.
Kenya’s public transport is chaotic and marked with corruption and it is hoped that if effected, the new cashless system will reduce fraud and corruption (70 per cent) in the industry where up to 30 percent of revenue is often lost to cartels and traffic police bribes.