The National Road Safety Authority has announced that commuters boarding public service vehicles from Kencom, GPO and Ambassador Stages will have to pay using cashlite cards starting today.
This means that the buses that pick up at those stages and their passengers will have to arm themselves with the machines and the cards respectfully before the deadline.
This new directive comes in at a time when majority of commuters still exclusively use cash to pay fare.
In acknowledgement of the passengers’ reluctance to adopt new technology, the NTSA said in an advertisement: “PSV users are hereby informed that the card providers will be at the above mentioned stages to issue the public with cards at no cost. (They) are further advised that the card providers will be available to assist on the usage of cashlite cards.”
However, even as the NTSA seemingly struggles to make the transition into the new payment system smoother for all stakeholders, the Matatu Welfare Association (MWA) feels that the government is pushing the technology down people’s throats.
Only four days ago, MWA had issued a seven-day ultimatum to the government to readdress the issue failure to which they will move to court.
Dickson Mbugua, chairman, MWA has stated that many matatu operators are not ready for the cashless system hence the move. Dickson has also warned that many youth risk being declared jobless if the government makes true its threat of suspending vehicles that have not complied with cashless fare system directive.
Mbugua said that if forcefully implemented, the jobless youth might resort to other illegal means of earning a living like crime.
The cashless payment system for Public Service vehicles was officially launched by the President in November 2014. The cashless payment system had been piloted along several routes in Nairobi County although with some challenges including deadline extensions.
Earlier on in February PSV Saccos with 410 vehicles plying Nairobi’s Jogoo road route from Eastlands announced that they were switching over to cash-lite fare system and wouldn’t accept cash as fare.