Nairobi commuters using Forward Travelers Sacco will have an option to pay their fares directly through Lipa Na M-pesa option following a partnership between Safaricom and the matatu operator.
The telco says the service will be immediately available in more than 70 Forward Travelers matatus plying Juja Road, Kangundo Road and Malaa routes after which it will be expanded to cover at least 400 matatus operating between Kayole and Nairobi Central Business District.
“M-PESA is increasingly becoming a preferred way to pay and collect fare for commuters and matatus. It has therefore become necessary to partner with the matatu sector to provide them with solutions that make it easy to collect and reconcile payments empowering them to efficiently run their businesses,” said Peter Ndegwa, CEO, Safaricom.
The service is powered by Simple Fare, a mobile and financial integration technology developed by Netcen Interactives.
Simple Fare enables a commuter to pay fare through Lipa Na M-PESA with the payment immediately reflecting to the bus crew’s phones.
The solution also provides matatu owners with a daily report on fares collected and enables withdrawal of funds to their M-PESA accounts.
According to Safaricom, the deal has been prompted by rapid growth of cashless payment in the public transport sector as more passengers and service providers continue to adopt safer and convenient modes of payment during coronavirus pandemic.
“In addition to supporting the fight against the pandemic, this platform facilitates seamless interactions across the ecosystem. It greatly boosts the matatu owners’ efforts of tracking their investments, while the SACCO can monitor their members’ activities. Such is the value that can be unlocked by embracing technological advancements. It is the future,” said Ephantus Thuku, CEO of Netcen.
The signing up of Forward Travelers Sacco brings to over 400 the number of public service vehicles that now accept payment of fares through M-PESA.
The system is already in use in more than 300 City Star Shuttle vehicles in Nairobi.