Matatu minibuses pilot contactless fare payments in Nairobi

O-city M-pesa contactless minibus fare payments in Nairobi, Kenya
CONTACTLESS: Nairobi travellers can now use M-Pesa on the city’s O-City fare collection platform

Passengers using Matatu minibus services across the Kenyan capital of Nairobi can now make contactless payments for their journeys from their M-Pesa mobile wallet.

The fare collection system, known as Lipafare, uses the O-City fare collection platform and is being piloted across the city as part of an initiative to promote contactless payments.

“Used by 70% of the population in Kenya, Matatu buses are a dominant transport mode across the country whereby passengers traditionally pay in cash,” O-City says.

“O-City’s automated fare collection platform leverages the M-Pesa mobile wallet, which is used by 90% of the population in Kenya.

“Passengers enter a code on their phone and a debit is made on their wallet, which can be instantly seen by drivers to grant access to ride.

“The platform removes unnecessary tickets and cash payments, instead offering an accessible payment solution that consumers already use, via a device already in their hand.”

Data monitoring

The O-City platform will also enable bus owners and drivers to monitor fare data more accurately in a city where buses and routes are privately owned by different operators and drivers “must meet daily financial fare targets, before generating their own earnings”.

“By connecting our O-City platform to mobile wallet M-Pesa, we’re able to build a simple contactless fare solution that is familiar to the customer and likely to encourage adoption,” says Takhir Abdukadyrov of BPC, the banking and payments group that developed the platform.

“Moreover, it enables us to scale fast to roll out the service at a time when cashless payments have a newfound importance.”

O-City has launched the pilot in Nairobi in partnership with savings and credit specialist NikoDigi and Kenyan payments firm Tracom.

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