Safaricom has started rolling out the highly anticipated cashless fare system for Matatu commuters in Nairobi.
The giant telco, which is among 29 companies that won a tender to develop a cashless fare payment platform, has partnered with Forward Travelers Sacco to provide the service in 70 matatus.
The matatus ply Juja Road, Kangundo Road and Malaa Routes. Commuters in these routes will have the option to pay their fares directly through Lipa Na M-Pesa.
While announcing the partnership with Forward Travelers, Safaricom said the cashless fare service will be expanded to cover at least 400 matatus operating between Kayole and Nairobi Central Business District.
“M-PESA is increasingly becoming a preferred way to pay and collect fare for commuters and matatus. It has therefore become necessary to partner with the matatu sector to provide them with solutions that make it easy to collect and reconcile payments empowering them to efficiently run their businesses,” said Peter Ndegwa, CEO, Safaricom.
The platform is powered by Simple Fare, a mobile and financial integration technology developed by Netcen Interactives. Fares paid via M-Pesa reflect instantly on the matatu crew’s phones, with the crew also able to access daily reports and withdraw funds directly to their M-Pesa wallets.
The service works across all phones and is equally available on an online portal.
“In addition to supporting the fight against the pandemic, this platform facilitates seamless interactions across the ecosystem. It greatly boosts the matatu owners’ efforts of tracking their investments, while the SACCO can monitor their members’ activities. Such is the value that can be unlocked by embracing technological advancements. It is the future,” said Ephantus Thuku, CEO of Netcen.
The platform is accessible on all phones and also via a web portal.
The system is already in use in more than 300 City Star Shuttle vehicles in Nairobi.