Cash-Light Fare System ‘My 1963’ has in the last month created 2000 youth jobs in partnership with more than 100 SACCOs running over 6000 matatus.
Technology company Fiber Space Limited, which earlier this year launched My 1963 as a multifaceted e-payment system, is now moving to address many issues afflicting the Kenyan matatu sector, in partnership with both the Matatu Owners Association and the Matatu Welfare Association, which represents Matatu workers.
In measures to bring order to the public service vehicles (PSVs) sector, the government this year issued a directive requiring all PSVs to register under SACCOs in order that they could be held to account. Under the same rules, each matatu under the SACCO must now have just one driver and a conductor.
However, thousands of otherwise unemployed youth have traditionally relied on the matatus for survival, earning fees for filling matatus, collecting protection fees, and alerting matatus to inspections by city council officials and road blocks. This network of associated roles has infamously been described as ‘the matatu cartels.’
But with over 400,000 young people a year moving into joblessness after sitting for their primary and secondary education exams, and youth accounting for 70 percent of the country’s unemployed, the introduction of the new matatu rules has now left many thousands more jobless.
My 1963 is, however, reversing the situation. Fiber Space Limited has partnered with the SACCOs to get the unemployed youth into groups, and deploy them in selling the My 1963 cards to customers. For each card sold by the groups, the SACCO gets a commission of Sh20 which is used to pay the youth. It is a practical solution to the unemployment caused by the changes and is seeing now close to 2000 youth moved to a monthly payroll, and earning between Sh15,000 and Sh20,000.
“Anytime technology is introduced, there are always job loss fears. But with our product we decided to use technology to create jobs. We wanted a technology that encourages human interaction,” said Mwakio Ngale, the owner and General Manager of Fiber Space Limited.
With an estimated 80,000 matatus in the country, the sale of transport cards is thus positioning itself to be among the leading job creators in the country while leveraging on the growing integration of technology in the everyday lives of Kenyans.
He further predicts demand for the Cash-Light Fare System will be like SIM cards, with a constant flow of new sign ups or replacements making for a long term role in selling cards that are now stopping the pilferage that was previously seeing matatu owners lose up to 30 per cent of their daily earnings. “The cards now ensure that money goes to the intended purpose and person while benefiting everyone in the sector,” he said.