Five PSV Saccos with 250 vehicles plying Nairobi’s Jogoo road route have joined hands with Fibre Space Ltd to use its cash light fare system ‘MY1963’ to end cash payments for matatu fares.The cashless system will help eliminate revenue losses that the Matatu owners say to be more than 30 percent of their daily earnings.
The government has been reluctant in implementing the system thus prompting the owners to self implement in a bid to target about 100000 passengers, putting to claims that SACCOs are not ready to embrace fare payment technology. The governments’s cashless switchover deadline was July 1st extended by six months to December 1st 2014. Even with the second deadline, adoption has been minimal and the government has gone slow on implementation.
But now matatu owners through big SACCOs along the Jogoo Road route, which include Ummoiner with 100 matatus, Cibet with 40, Compliant with 40, ROG with 38, and Oma with 32; after a series of meetings that cited continued losses of income, have decided to accelerate the cash light system enforcement, using its ‘MY1963’ card system.
“The matatu owners we have provided point of sale terminals and technical support to approached us to work together to fast track adoption of the cards by passengers, since the owners were still recording losses of revenue on their vehicles,” said Mwakio Ngale, General Manager of Fiber Space Limited.
Under the partnership, about 40 youth selling the ‘MY1963’ cards have been deployed, since Monday this week, during rush hours at selected bus terminals in Nairobi.
“While the matatu owners fully understand the need for the cashlight fare system, the majority of passengers have shied away from embracing them due to limited information. With this partnership our activators will be in bus terminals explaining the details to passengers,” said Mwakio.
The card sellers, known as activators, start by giving the passengers the cards free of charge, then explain to them how the card works through the self care option, additionally providing leaflets. Registration of the card is free with passengers needing only a national identification card, a valid phone number and date of birth information to create individual accounts. Users are then able to load money through M-PESA at no additional cost, thanks to a partnership with Safaricom.
They have set up February 1st as the last day any of their matatus will receive any cash payment from any passenger, after which they will automatically go fully cashlight.
Already the ‘MY1963’ card, which gives passengers loyalty points to get free fares and offers fare credit facilities, has created over 2,000 jobs in distributing the cards. It is also seeing both drivers and touts put onto formal salaries, with health benefits and credit facilities.