- Safaricom head of Coast regional operations Elizabeth Wasuna, however, said people with other lines can also use the service.
- The Star tried to pay using another line but it failed.
A week after its launch, the cashless toll payment system at the Likoni crossing channel is being challenged.
Muslims for Human Rights on Tuesday said the system, where motorists and kart pullers using the ferry pay via Safaricom lines by dialling *721#, is discriminatory.
“While we laud this as a step to improve on your customer services, we would also note that your directive to only use M-Pesa to the exclusion of all other payment platforms is discriminatory against members of the public who do not use the M-Pesa option,” wrote Muhuri chairman Khelef Khalifa in a letter to Kenya Ferry Services MD Bakari Gowa on Tuesday.
KFS and Safaricom on October 8 launched the cashless system at the island side of the crossing channel.
KFS human resource manager Thomas Tuva, who represented the MD, said the system will in the long run ensure increased safety and security of commuters at the channel.
“Our ultimate aim is to increase revenue collection by reducing and sealing all revenue leakages,” he said.
Speaking at the launch last Thursday, Tuva said the daily revenue collected at the channel now stands at an average of Sh1.3 million daily.
“This is a 20 per cent reduction, especially during this Covid-19 period. We used to collect about Sh1.5 million daily and on a good day even up to Sh1.9 million,” he said.
With the new system, the aim is to get to a daily target of between Sh2 million and Sh2.5 million.
On Friday, most motorists welcomed the new system saying it will save them time because it is faster.
However, a few questioned why it was restricted to Safaricom lines.
“What happens when my phone is off or I do not have a Safaricom line? They should think of other network users as well,” said Joseph Kumalo, who uses the ferry daily.
Safaricom head of Coast regional operations Elizabeth Wasuna, however, said people with other lines can also use the service.
The Star tried to pay using another line but it failed.
On Tuesday, Khalifa said as a public entity, KFS is expected to cater for the needs of all members of the public in an equitable manner.
“By not giving an option for other mobile users who do not own Safaricom lines, you are discriminating against some members of the public and thus in contravention of the basic constitutional provisions on equality and equal benefit,” he said.
He gave the KFS 14 days to come up with a different option for ferry users who do not use Safaricom lines.
“Take further notice that should you fail to comply with this letter, we shall be forced to pursue legal action against you on public interest grounds without any further reference to you and at your own risks as to costs and incidental consequences thereto,” wrote Khalifa.
There are fears the new system is likely to disadvantage SGA Security, the firm that has been collecting cash on behalf of the KFS.
SGA Security operations manager Norman Nyabinda said they have been in partnership with KFS for seven years.
“We have worked seamlessly and we hope to continue working together,” he said.
Presently, SGA Security has 17 workers stationed at the crossing channel. With the new system, they are likely to be declared redundant.
However, Tuva said there will be no job loss. He said once someone pays, there is a team to validate the payments.
“The validation will be done by people. After payment, validation has to be done,” the HR manager said .
However, a source at SGA Security told the Star they will be losing at least Sh15 million a year.
“Safaricom has pushed used out of business. KFS used to pay us Sh1.3 million a month for cash collection,” said the source.
Tuva said after about a year with the new system they will be able to know how much they have been losing through the cash system.
Edited by Josephine M. Mayuya