, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 5 – President Uhuru Kenyatta made history of sorts when he abandoned his limousine, hopped into a matatu and paid his Sh30 fare for a journey between State House and the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) to the surprise of members of the public and security officers en-route.
Many Kenyans including matatu owners, drivers and touts were amazed to find the matatu carrying the president edged between security vehicles and being escorted to the KICC where the Head of State launched the PSV cashless 1963 card during the Matatu Owners Association Annual Delegates Conference.
The new cashless system now means commuters will no longer need to carry cash money for fare which will now be done electronically.
Before taking the matatu ride, President Kenyatta registered for the new Public Service Vehicle (PSV) 1963 cashless card to test its workability as he jovially interacted with the driver and the conductor.
During the ride, bus conductor Absalom Omuhatia charged the President who also paid fare for Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore, his private Secretary Jomo Gecaga and Transport CS Michael Kamau.
“In the event something happened during a matatu ride and you needed a refund, the cashless system makes it easy, for the crew in the matatu,” Omuhatia explained to the Head of State.
Adding, “We are even ready to go and get trained by NYS so that we can have acceptable standards in our operations.”
The new cashless fare system will revolutionise the public transport industry and also ensure accountability in the sector.
The 1963 electronic payment system provides investors in the sector with proper controls and relieves stakeholders of the risks involved in carrying cash.
“This new system brings convenience, security and accountability all at once. As the system is implemented, I urge investors to avoid loading extra costs on passengers, just like they do not increase fare because they have bought a new bus,” the President said.
President Kenyatta commended the matatu industry for working hard to shed its former image of being a rogue and lawless industry. The adoption of cashless transactions will also make the sector crime-proof.
“During your deliberations here today, and in days to come, you will agree on ways of improving safety and enhancing compliance with traffic rules and transport regulations,” the President said.
Transport Cabinet Secretary Kamau commended the industry players for partnering with Government to improve safety on the roads adding that the reforms being instituted in the sector are intended to improve and entrench self-regulation by the operators.
Matatu Owners Association (MOA) Chairman Simon Kimutai on his part said, “with the 1963 card we will be able to address a number of challenges including ensuring that matatu crews are well paid and have access to NHIF and NSSF.”