What you need to know:
- What informed the government to consider this clearly impractical system?
- The idea of a cashless fare payment system is good but it doesn’t have to be legislated at this time.
- Today, if you test positive for Covid-19, you are on your own; you’re told to self-quarantine.
I refer to the Business Daily headline story, "Matatus face fines for cash only fares" (August 31).
The requirement for public transport operators to provide a contact-free payment system, ostensibly in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19, is oppressive and discriminative.
If people all over the country – including mama mboga, mitumba sellers, hawkers, livestock traders, tea kiosks, churches and mosques – exchange cash every minute of the day, why pick on one sector?
It doesn’t make sense at all.
If the intention is to assist in contact tracing, then all those places that handle cash should be subjected to the same law. You can’t apply a law selectively.
If the desired effect is to limit the handling of cash, then what the government should do is to decommission the notes and coins and outlaw use of currency altogether. But clearly, that is not possible.
The regulation also means if you don’t have money on your phone but you have cash you can’t board a matatu to go about your business, yet most people commute to work.
Of all the people who have died so far from Covid-19, how many are matatu touts, conductors and drivers?
What informed the government to consider this clearly impractical system?
And the thought that before boarding a matatu you have to provide your particulars – name, home address and telephone number, among other details – for contact tracing is laughable.
And the matatu owner is supposed to keep this information for up to six months — ironically, in case the authorities want to trace someone who may have been infected then!
The idea of a cashless fare payment system is good but it doesn’t have to be legislated at this time. Not when the requirement to meet social distancing has reduced number of passengers a matatu can carry.
The PSV sector is already suffering from the economic slump caused by the pandemic and the government should not make it harder for them.
There’s no need to saddle the operators with additional costs.
To be honest, the government has given up on contact tracing anyway. It has neither the capacity nor the resources to do so.
Today, if you test positive for Covid-19, you are on your own; you’re told to self-quarantine.
The government seems to have a sinister motive. The media need to look at the practicality and usefulness of this legislation and call it by its name.
I think the government can better spend the time and resources it has set aside for the ‘contactless project’ to tighten procurement control protocols to stop the theft of public Covid-19 mitigation funds.
Concerned citizen, via email