The Kenyan government through the Ministry of Transport earlier in the year gave a directive to the public transport sector in the country, requiring the sector to implement electronic payment systems in all public vehicles.
The directive, which was to meet a July deadline but was later postponed for end of year, led to the development of a cashless prepaid card through a collaboration between Matatu owners, Matatu Welfare Association and Fibre Space Limited who developed the cashless card.
Dubbed My1963 and launched in May 2014, the cashless card which comes in two different designs was again introduced to Kenyans by President Uhuru Kenyatta on November 5.
The president used the cashless card to pay KSh30 fare from State House to the Kenya International Convention Centre (KICC), also paying the fares for Safaricom’s CEO Bob Collymore and Ministry of Transport CS, Michael Kamau.
As Kenyans prepare to migrate wholly to the cashless system for PSVs come December, here are a number of benefits commuters should expect with the My1963 card.
1. Kopa Fare – Yes, If you find yourself in the situation you do not have enough bus fare for reasons best known to you, the My1963 card allows you to get home on credit. The card allows users to Kopa (Swahili for loan) an amount ranging between Ksh50 and KSh300.
To use the Kopa Fare service, users are required to dial the USSD Code *363# or alternatively send a message through WhatsApp to the number 0786111963 in this format, Kopa # amount to Kopa # your PIN.
2. No Price Hikes – Commuters using the card will pay the stipulated peak and off-peak fares to their specific destinations. No more fare hikes because of rain or traffic, a situation that is notorious with conductors for Rongai and South B routes among others.
3. Reward Points – Users will earn a point for every KSh10 used on the card, with accumulated points being open for redeeming through promotions by 1963.
The registration process for the card requires the commuter’s National ID number, Date of Birth and a valid phone number which will facilitate for the creation of a personal account.
Integrated to use the WhatsApp platform for enquiries by users, the 1963 cashless card allows for top up through Safaricom’s M-Pesa by selecting the Lipa na M-PESA option from your mobile, entering paybill number 118934 and card number for the account number.
Topping up can also be done through My1963 card agents who have been positioned at various routes and also in Nairobi’s CBD, including Virtuo City Movie Shop at Kenya Cinema and 1963 Jinice shop along Mfangano lane.
Implementation of cashless systems in the public transport sector will also help reduce theft in public vehicles by eliminating the need for Kenyans to carry around cash, with the government working to implement cashless systems in all sectors.