Safaricom, NCBA, Craft Silicon, JamboPay, Cellullant and KCB are among lenders and IT firms that have been licensed to offer cashless payment services to Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) in Kenya. 

National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) said the 29 firms which have been licensed will provide a platform for cashless fare payment ahead of a ban of cash use in the matatu sector.

NTSA had on June 16, 2020 issued a tender seeking lenders and tech companies to install mobile software and web applications for the close to 200,000 matatus operating in Kenya.

According to NTSA, the digital fare collection platform will also be used to conduct contact tracing on passengers as part of the government’s efforts to curtail the spread of Covid-19.

Once fully effected, all passengers will pay their fares through mobile money platforms as the government accesses their contact information required in the Coronavirus pandemic fight.

A cashless fare bid by the government failed to kick off in 2014 after matatu operators in the country opposed it alleging it would be used to spy on their earnings for the sake of taxation.

The government then said the prepaid cards would help purge criminal cartels in the matatu industry and allow KRA to track PSV profits in the sector that rakes in over Sh420 billion yearly.

The My 1963 commuter card was touted as the solution for matatu owners to tame theft of their proceeds by crew, improve their earnings and track payments by passengers in real time.