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Matatus to end cash fare mode in fortnight

Commuters on Jogoo Road in Nairobi have less than two weeks to obtain smart cards as five major matatu saccos plying the route have set a date to implement the cashless fare payment system.

They said they will not accept cash payments from February 1, in a move that could affect commuters on one of the city’s busiest routes.

The initiative is a deal with technology company Fiber Space — that rolled out My1963 smart card — with the matatu owners citing continued loss of income through the current cash system.

“The cashless system is beneficial to owners but it has faced many challenges in implementation that is why we have decided to implement on our own and deal with the challenges,” said Mr George Githinji, an official of the Matatu Owners Association.

The five, with some of the largest fleets on the Jogoo Road are Ummoinner with 100 matatus, Cibet with 40, Compliant with 40, ROG with 38 and Oma with 32.


“They 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 Fiber Space Ltd General Manager Mwakio Ngale.

Other major saccos and bus companies plying the route but which are not part of the deal are Utimo, Double M Bus Company as well as Citi Hoppa among others.

Last month, the National Transport and Safety Authority dropped the deadline for switching to cashless fare payment until the end of this year, citing challenges in implementation.

The government, however, expects all PSVs to comply with the system by December this year as renewal of their annual licences will be tied to compliance.

Kenya’s public transport passenger service market made Sh218.1 billion in 2013.

This has attracted a multitude of providers who stand to earn an estimated Sh2.1 billion annually in revenue by processing fare payments for PSV operators.