The Matatu Owners Association (MOA) has partnered with Safaricom and other organizations to launch a cashless payment dubbed My 1963 for commuters in Nairobi.
The service was launched at the annual MOA AGM which brings together public service vehicle owners together, and was witnessed by President Uhuru Kenyatta, who praised the development by Matatu Owners and other partners.
The service will see commuters use a prepaid card to pay their fares replacing the current method where fares are paid using cash. The cards will be topped up using mobile money solution, M-PESA.
The event saw President Uhuru Kenyatta and other key government officials ride in an Isuzu matatu from Statehouse to K.I.C.C during which he was able to review and get a feel of the workings of My 1963.
Matatu Owners Association Simon Kimutai said the new service will use NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, requiring commuters to only tap their cards against a terminal installed in Public Service Vehicles, to pay their fare.
With the introduction of the My 1963 service, we are taking a proactive step in implementing the recommendation by the government to have fares paid through a cashless system. This development also marks a crucial milestone in the journey towards professionalizing public transportation in Kenya, Kimutai said.
He added, My 1963 fits in with the drive towards creating a CashLite society, and its implementation starting today will also address insecurity which had become rampant in public transportation, with criminals targeting the commuters money as well as the day takings from the crews.
During the MOA AGM, His Excellency addressed matatu operators and indicated that the government will look into the issue of licensing 14-seater matatus that has been an issue. Licensing of 14-seaters was banned four years ago and has been a great concern for matatu owners who have invested in the business.
Speaking during the event, Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore said, With nearly 20 million customers, M-PESA has become the most convenient way for a Kenyans to transact. We are glad that My 1963 has chosen to work with M-PESA, and used the Near Field Technology to make transactions faster.
He explained, This development is timely, coming as we prepare to relocate the M-PESA backbone system to enable an increase in the number of transactions per second, and allow for deeper integration with other CashLite initiatives.
In addition, President Uhuru Kenyatta flagged of 10 Isuzu buses from General Motors EA to be used for a demo program for a period of six months to the by youth groups to enhance capacity in the bus transport business.
During the event, the Matatu Owners Association also hinted at a partnership with the National Youth Service, to train drivers working in the public transport sector. This training is geared at instilling discipline on the road with a long term view of reducing the number of accidents, death and injuries on the roads.
The PSV congress that will go a long way in boosting cohesion among players in the industry received sponsorship from Safaricom, General Motors EA, Invesco, National Bank of Kenya, Engen Kenya, KCB, NHIF, International Labour Organization (ILO), Toyota Hino, Pinacle, Papo Hapo and 1963.