Let us introduce e-fare to fight Covid-19

Kimutai wants a cashless matatu sector

In Summary
  • Cashless matatu system long overdue
  • Safaricom can develop for us a system that is watertight
MOA chairman Simon Kimutai /PATRICK VIDIJA
MOA chairman Simon Kimutai /PATRICK VIDIJA



It is high time that the matatu industry adopted a cashless system as a mechanism to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.


The whole industry should have embraced the cashless fare approach like yesterday but because of vested interests, this has not been forthcoming.

Scientists have said that handling physical cash is aiding the spread of the COVID-19.

If this is the scientific approach that needs to be adopted to mitigate the spread of the deadly virus, then so be it.

If you look at the manner in which money exchanges hands across the matatu sector, it would be foolhardy to imagine that we will be able to win the fight against COVID-19 when our people continue to handle hard cash.

I want to ask the government to enforce the policy on e-fare so we can minimise the levels of transmission of the virus when commuters use the public transport system.

Personally, sometimes back, I championed the e-fare mechanism and even brought together players in the industry, including the government, to launch a cashless fare payment system.

This system could have come in handy at a time like now when we are battling coronavirus.


The system was in partnership with Safaricom. However, because of vested interests within the transport sector the system collapsed.

We need to move with speed and reintroduce the cashless system so that together we can play our part in the fight against coronavirus.

At that time, there were concerns that some rogue passengers used to reverse the fare transaction after paying. This was an area where we encountered a lot of challenges.

We can talk to Safaricom so that they can come up with a watertight system that is not prone to customers abuse like reversing payments.

Safaricom can then ring-fence the system in such a manner that once the payment has been made, no reversal can be allowed unless a set of procedures are followed

This is something that I think Safaricom can easily develop so that our system is not only watertight but also tamper-proof.

An e-fare payment system would be a total game-changer.

The Matatu Owners chairman spoke to the Star.

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