As part of the mobile money push in Kenya, leading telecommunications operator Safaricom has announced it will offer public service vehicle (PSV) operators a new service that will allow users to pay fares using the M-Pesa mobile money system. The move is being praised as helping to push Kenya into the mainstream of modern technology and public transportation.
According to Safaricom, the special numbers will be allocated to PSV operators so passengers are able to pay fares without having to add transaction charges to their purchases.
Director of corporate affairs at Safaricom Nzioka Waita, however, did not give a timeline for the service, which will be rolled out under the Lipa Na M-Pesa scheme.
PSV owners will pay Safaricom 1 percent commission on the value of each transaction.
The new service will see it target some 22,052 PSV licensed operators in Kenya, according to data from the Traffic Licensing Board.
The mobile-based fare payment service will compete with Equity Bank and Google’s BebaPay, a pre-paid plastic card used to settle public transport bills. BebaPay, launched in April, uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Safaricom’s entry into bus farepayments using mobile money extends its bid to increase M-Pesa usage, having launched payment schemes such as Lipa Kodi for rent, Lipa Karo for schools fees and Lipa Na M-Pesa for retailers.