Reliance on cash fare collection, in a ‘target system’ of driver remuneration, has contributed to poor quality of paratransit service in Sub-Saharan African cities. Cashless Fare Collection (CFC) initiatives have therefore been seen as a possible reform mechanism. Despite the apparent benefits of CFC, and numerous attempts, the bulk of initiatives in the minibus paratransit sector have failed. This paper reports on an exploratory study of the experiences of CFC initiation amongst matatus in Nairobi, undertaken to identify key stakeholders, and to establish reasons for failure. The research method involved (n=15) qualitative stakeholder interviews, and a (n=6) semi-structured matatu vehicle crew intercept survey. It was found that there was no single, common initiator of CFC projects. Stakeholder expectations included: interoperability of systems; the generation of demand and supply data; increased tax compliance; standardised fares; prevention of farebox leakage; salaried employment of vehicle crews; and a reduction of bribery and extortion. Implementation challenges included: a lack knowledge of the system; weak enforcement of CFC regulations; no interoperability; and a lack of trust. The study identified 46 stakeholders in the CFC initiatives, of which 18 were identified as key, in so far as they could render the system inoperable if their needs are not met. Reasons for failure included: no prior consultation directed at understanding the sector; sabotage of on-board CFC equipment by vehicle crews; cartels formed to undercut the fares of compliant competitors; no clearinghouse or harmonisation of bank commissions; and a lack of government support.
Papers presented virtually at the 39th International Southern African Transport Conference on 05 -07 July 2021