The Public Health Rules 2020 gazetted on July 24 outline the operation of Public Vehicles during the Covid-19 pandemic. Contact-free payment options are now mandatory in the transport sector, with operators facing fines to a tune of Sh20,000 for failing to effect the rule.
Digital payment options such as M-Pesa will help the crew and passengers contain the spread of the pandemic by minimizing cash handling and physical contact. This is just one of the recommended measures to curb the spread of the disease that has so far affected more than 33,000 Kenyans.
“A system for contact-free payment shall be put in place by the operator,” reads the regulations.
“A person who commits an offence under this rules shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding Sh20,000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or both.”
Public Transport Operators will now have to abide by the requirement to have a cashless payment system, failure to which they will be fined or jailed.
Other measures contained in the Public Health Rules for Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) include keeping half of the seats empty to encourage social distancing between passengers. The crew must also take the passengers’ temperatures and provide hand sanitizers approved by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KBS) They must also disinfect the matatus and buses after every trip.
The National and County Government have also been empowered to ground any vehicles or group of vehicles belonging to a sacco in breach of the above rules.
Safaricom got into a partnership with willing Matatu operators and saccos and provided a solution dubbed “Lipa Fare Na Mpesa”
The service allows passengers to pay their transport by sending money to a paybill number. The customers are not charged for the service and the crew are charged a one per cent commission based on the total value collected at the end of the day.
Buses that take trips of 50 Kilometres and above are also required to collect and keep passengers’ information for a period of up to six months to aid in contact tracing.
Passengers who provide false information are liable for a Sh20,000 fine.
“The operator shall provide, without undue delay, the manifest to the relevant public health authorities upon request,” reads the rules.