The firm is ensuring contactless payment boom by scaling digital fare collection for over 10,000 buses
Automated transport collection platform, O-City, which is run by banking and payment firm BPC, has taken a crucial step to accelerate contactless payment in Kenya by digitising payments across over 10,000 matatu buses.
Dubbed “Lipafare”, the service was designed to lessen reliance on physical cash at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, launched with transport savings and credit specialists, NikoDigi, and payments firm, Tracom, and leverages the popular M-Pesa mobile wallet.
Users put in a code on their phone that debits their wallet and can immediately be seen by drivers to give access to the bus. This removes the need for physical tickets and cash payments and replaces it with an accessible digital payment solution. It also increases transparency in fare collection between the drivers and the bus owners.
According to Nikodigi’s managing director Patrick Karera, digital methods are safer, reducing the need for cash after the pandemic, and also help to “future-proof African transport” in the 21st century.
“We are proud to be helping drivers and conductors across Nairobi to carry out an improved way of doing business digitally and seamlessly, which has proven to be immensely popular with customers, drivers and bus owners,” said Karera.
He added that buses dominate transportation options across the country and are used by 70% of the Kenyan population serving Nairobi and additional long routes such as Nanyuki, Kajiado, Eldoret and Limuru.
The firm also developed new systems to accommodate SACCOs, nudging Matatu users to opt for Lipafare as more payment methods are accepted in comparison to other ride-hailing companies. Additional incentives for users include removing the cost of dialing the USSD for crew and commuters and removing the cost of withdrawing any amount over Sh1,200 ($10).
“By leveraging mobile wallet M-Pesa, we have been able to scale the service quickly and easily so that customers and transport operators have more opportunities than ever,” said Tokhir Abdukadyrov, senior vice president of smart city and transport solutions at BPC.