Nairobi News


How NTSA will know where you travel to, and fares paid

The government could soon access information on how Kenyans use matatus to move around on realtime basis.

The soon-to-be implemented matatu cashless payment portal to be manned by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), will provide individual contact information and routes as well as fare payment details as contained in passenger manifest.


The data will be accessed by NTSA and other agencies tasked with curbing the spread of Covid-19, enabling individuals diagnosed with the virus to be traced easily, as well as those who came into contact with them during travel.

“The system should have capabilities to generate detailed daily, monthly and yearly reports based on set parameters of a passenger manifest. It should support mobile money and Pesalink transactions as well as have reporting functionalities,” it says.

Phone data remains a hot potato among secrecy-loving Kenyans who vigorously fought off past instances to tap them for calls, text messages and mobile cash transactions.

NTSA says its planned digital fare-paying platform was a necessary measure President Kenyatta asked for to help Kenya battle coronavirus through use of a contact tracing (passenger manifest) platform riding on technology.

Tech firms eyeing the lucrative bid that closes tomorrow must ensure their platforms are well-secured to avert incidents where hackers access passenger data.


“System solution should have information security safeguards to check for URL tampering and common security breaches while the requests are sent via security frameworks,” tender papers say.

NTSA wants a platform that generates text-based customer receipts. The operator should also have a round-the-clock manned support centre to handle customer notifications and queries.

Matatu operators support the e-payment platform, saying, they hope it could seal revenue leakages by rogue staff, and restore order in the industry.

Matatu Owners Association Chairman Simon Kimutai says it could help investors to plan future investments instead of the current hand-to-mouth business that it is.

“We could also formalise employment terms for drivers and our conductors who ‘pay’ themselves daily stipends before handing over the day’s collection to the owner. Such a platform will enable us understand the worth of our investment as opposed to the present ‘predicament’ where cartels demand payment of a goodwill before a matatu is allowed to ply a certain route,” he said.