Commercial motorcycles have been given six months to go cashless following the success of the “tap-and-go” payment system on public commuter buses in Kigali.
IT firms and motor taxi co-operatives told Rwanda Today that discussions on possible issues in phasing out cash payments were in progress including finalising work on the applications that will facilitate the digital transactions.
“The regulator gave us by June to ensure the cashless payment system is operational. We are working with banks and telecom companies, which are facilitating the fare transfers,” said Brian Ngarambe, managing partner at Pascal Technology Ltd, one of the tech firms running the cashless transport solutions.
Mr Ngarambe said the payment system will allow users to pay for fares using mobile money, credit or debit cards.
Other IT companies interested in the initiative are Safe Moto and Yego Innovision Ltd, which has been piloting its e-payment system popularly known as Yego Moto with over 700 subscribers.
Yego Moto recently got a five-year licence to operate in the country.
Statistics by the transport regulator, Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (Rura), show there are over 31,000 licensed motor fleet distributed among 146 co-operatives countrywide. More than half of them operate in Kigali City.
Under the cashless payment system, the co-operatives will have to equip their fleet with GPS-enabled devices that calculate kilometres covered and the fare.
While e-payment solution providers said they would be ready to roll out the system even before June, motorists decried lack of training on how the new system would work, operational costs and the system’s fare structure.
Solomon Bigirimana, acting head of FERWACOTAMO, a Kigali-based league of commercial motorist operators, told Rwanda Today they were yet to get information from the transport regulator, which will also assess whether the the terms are fair for all parties.
“There are many answered questions among the members, which is partly the reason why many doubt that the motor taxis business will be cashless in the six months,” said Mr Bigirimana.
It is understood that Rura is working on the fare structures for taxi motos, the same way the agency regulates fares for public commuter buses.
It is not known when the fares will be made public, and Rura’s spokesperson was not available for comment by press time.
However, Rura director general Maj. Patrick Nyirishema recently told the media that the fares would be determined on studies carried out to ensure fairness for both stakeholders and users.
The cashless system is expected to help end unnecessary bargaining for fares between moto riders and passengers, but the government also sees it as a way of modernising the moto taxi business in order to make it attractive for investments.