Matatu operators in Nairobi. have to go completely cashless, while commuters are required to carry a preloaded card as a means of payment.
No new Matatu operators will be registered until they comply with this new system.
It is said that many of the members of the public that use Matatu and the Matatu operators have not been properly educated. That is saying that the system is not ready yet. There is no order in the Matatu system of operation, as they are privately held.
Imagine if we were asked in Lagos to start swiping a preloaded card before we can get on Danfo buses. Even the BRT/LAG buses that have more order have not been successful at implementing preloaded card for paying for fares.
I have used this prepaid card of the LAG Bus from CMS area of Lagos to Eko Hotel in Victoria Island a couple of times. There are times when the card fails and you have to pay with cash. Sometimes you are asked to sit since it is not any fault of yours that the card did not work.
If the Matatu is run by private operators, I am wondering how this cashless payment is going to work. A commentator said that there is need for order to be present in the system itself before they can implement this. “You can not jumpstart order,” a member of the public said is an interview with BBC in Nairobi.
A report in Kenya’s Daily Nation shares that; there are Matatu operators that have already implemented the cashless payment system. Just as I stated above (with the LAG Bus Cards), they use these cards to pay and when the machine doesn’t work, the commuters are allowed to ride for free.
It will be interesting to see how this works few months from now. Some concerns have been raised. What if people are coming from the countryside and they do not have a card? How are they supposed to go around? Would there be a card for a day?
It has been said that plans are underway to make prepaid cards available easily around town, reloading the cards will be possible at banks, ATM and agents around the city.
This sounds cool, but unless the system is really ready for it, this will cause some chaos.
Image Credits: theafro.org