Safaricom (NSE: SCOM) has today partnered with Forward Travelers to offer an M-PESA fare collection solution to commuters in Nairobi. The service will be immediately available in more than 70 Forward Travelers matatus plying Juja Road, Kangundo Road and Malaa Routes. In coming weeks, the firms will complete rollout of the service for the 400 matatus plying the Kayole – CBD Route.
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.
“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.
Simple Fare provides matatu owners with a daily report on fares collected and enables withdrawal of funds to their M-PESA accounts. The service works across all phones and is equally available on an online portal.
Cashless payment uptake has been growing in the public transport sector as more passengers and service providers continue to take up the service.
“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.