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No interconnectivity charges for Kenya’s cashless matatu fares

Kenya , 08 Jul 2014

No interconnectivity charges for Kenya’s cashless matatu fares

Cashless service providers for Kenya’s transport e-payment systems have to pay interconnectivity costs.

This is a directive from the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) which is trying to cushion commuters from any extra costs and drive up adoption of the system.

ITWeb Africa reported last Friday that despite a 1 July deadline elapsing to implement the cashless system, the Matatu Owners Association wants more time to discuss the measures.

Commuters and stakeholders in the public transport sector have also raised concerns over the existence of too many cashless service providers who use different technologies.

For instance, there are systems from the likes of Safaricom and VISA.

Yet, there are no guidelines on interoperability fees in cases where commuters use different networks to pay for their fares.

“Commuters will not incur any extra charge when they use their cards on different networks that do not match with their cards, as the firms offering these services will absorb the cost of connectivity,” said the director general of NTSA, Francis Meja.

A quick investigation by ITWeb Africa among commuters and public service transporters has revealed that commuters have not fully understood the differences in the cashless fares payments systems.

Speaking to ITWeb Africa, Jane Wambui, a Nairobi commuter, said, “I would rather stick to cash in the meantime, rather than going out there to subscribe to all those services. How many cards am I supposed to carry around just to pay for fare?”

Wambui’s sentiments represent a larger cross section of an uneducated public on the cashless fare implementation, something that the Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek) has agreed with.

Cofek has said the whole project was hurried without proper consultation and public education.

The customer lobby group has also threatened to go to court to block the implementation of the project.

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