O-CITY, the automated fare collection provider by BPC, has announced an initiative to drive contactless payments across bus services in Nairobi, Kenya.
The O-CITY pilot dubbed LipaFare, which was launched in partnership with transport savings and credit specialists, NikoDigi, and Kenyan payments firm Tracom, is designed to reduce the use of cash in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by accelerating the deployment of cashless fare collection.
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’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.
O-CITY’s platform is also built to make fare collection more transparent between the bus owners and drivers. Buses and routes are privately owned by several operators who ‘lease’ to drivers who must meet daily financial fare targets, before generating their own earnings. Fare pricing differs depending on the route and a range of factors, so digitising the transactions enables visibility and reliability of fare data. With heavily congested routes in Nairobi, digitising fare collection also serves to remove the friction of exchanging money and time taken for drivers to pick up passengers.
“Nikodigi understands the needs of vehicle owners and drivers. Together with our partners, we have designed a product that automates fare collection without taking control away from the drivers and conductors or radically changing how they operate. The platform has been embraced by passengers because of its ease of use, but also because it eliminates cash transactions during the COVID-19 pandemic, ” Patrick Karera, MD at Nikodigi said.
According to Tokhir Abdukadyrov, the Senior Vice President of smart city and transport solutions at BPC, the move away from cash to contactless public transport is important especially with the Covid-19 pandemic still ravaging the country.
“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. Moreover, it enables us to scale fast to roll out the service at a time when cashless payments have newfound importance,” Mr. Abdukadyrov explained.
O-CITY is an innovative automated fare collection solution designed by BPC, a banking and payment firm with in excess of 280 clients across more than 90 countries. O-CITY was born from the vision of digitalizing micro-payments as a key driver of a cashless economy while improving the well-being of citizens.