Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy, William Samoei Ruto today became the first to use “My 1963” Safaricom and Matatu Owners Association (MOA) prepaid fare card for PSV’s.
Launched first in May, “My 1963”, was supposed to go live on July 1 but due to complication the deadline was pushed. The card will see commuters in Kenya use a prepaid card to pay their fares replacing the current method where fares are paid using cash. The cards will be topped up using mobile money solution, M-PESA at a charge of Ksh 10 per top up. Commutters will buy the cards at Ksh 50 from appointed M-PESA agents. The NFC (Near Field Communication) technology is simple to use and only requires commuters to tap their cards against a terminal installed in Public Service Vehicles, to pay their fare.
Ksh 50 from appointed M-PESA agents
According to the chairman Matatu Owners Association Simon Kimutai, “With the introduction of the My 1963 service, we are taking a proactive step in implementing the recommendation by the government to have fares paid through a cashless system. This development also marks a crucial milestone in the journey towards professionalizing public transportation in Kenya.”
The service was launched at the PSV Matatu Congress which brings together public service vehicle owners together annually, and witnessed by President Uhuru Kenyatta, who praised the development by Matatu Owners and other partners.
The PSV congress was sponsored by Safaricom, General Motors EA, Invesco, National Bank of Kenya, Engen Kenya, NHIF, KCB, International Labour Organization (ILO), Toyota Hino, Pinacle, Papo Hapo and 1963.
“My 1963” is the not the only prepaid card avaialable in Kenya. Hundreds already have Google and Equity Bank’s Beba, Abiria Card which you might have never seen, and so many others. Kenya has various other prepaid cards such as Nakumatt Global, Nation Hela though they are not NFC-powered and are def not accepted into Kenya’s Ma3’s.
The prepaid payment cards were launched after the National Transport & Safety Authority passed a law requiring all public service vehicles (PSVs) in Kenya to have cashless fare payment system before July 1 this year. There are hefty fines-up to Kshs. 50,000 as fine or a one year imprisonment for any operators who don’t comply. MOA thinks this service will help end corruption in the sector.
“My 1963 fits in with the drive towards creating a CashLite society, and its implementation starting today will also address insecurity which had become rampant in public transportation, with criminals targeting the commuters’ money as well as the day’s takings from the crews,” Kimutai said.
The Matatu Owners Association aim to work with the National Youth Service to train drivers working in the public transport sector in safe driving and discipline on the road with a long term view of reducing the number of accidents, death and injuries on the roads. General Motors EA also saw it a great opportunity to give its 10 Isuzu buses for a six month demo program.
With nearly 20 million customers, M-PESA is the most convenient way for such transactions. Users have to buy the cards and pay on every top up though!
Safaricom’s Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore said, “We are glad that My 1963 has chosen to work with M-PESA, and used the Near Field Technology to make transactions faster. This development is timely, coming as we prepare to relocate the M-PESA backbone system to enable an increase in the number of transactions per second, and allow for deeper integration with other CashLite initiatives”.