The cash crisis in Zimbabwe has everyone turning to use plastic money almost all the time and Commuter omnibus owners seem to have jumped in to make life easier for their customers.
A commuter omnibus owner of the Pamushana Africa Transport, AKA Old Trafford has recently adjusted from using hard cash to using plastic money, making it easier for residents of Warren Park Suburb.
The director of the Trafford commuter omnibuses Hardlife Chipika has adjusted to plastic money in a bid to make it easier for his customers who are facing challenges in getting cash.
Chipika is believed to have made this decision after observing that financial challenges in the country were not going to be resolved overnight. In my opinion I would call him a ghetto hero. Most people in the ghetto rely on public transport and they are the same people who face cash challenges for bus-fare which is usually paid in cash.
Chibika said his new initiative was a way of embracing the June Monetary Policy which called upon business entities to open up to digital payment platforms. Chibika has already adopted digital payments and his business is already adapting to the use of plastic money which gives no business an excuse for refusing digital payments.
Hardlife explained the system as a solution formulated to ensure ease of transaction between the passengers and the transport operator.
He indicated that he engaged a leading financial institution well versed in driving digital transformation in Zimbabwe, which agreed to develop a mobile point of sale (MPOS) for his business.
This method of digital payments is said to have tickets from as little value of 10 cents, which make it affordable to many people.
The devices for this system are believed to be as small as cellphones but with a swipe tap and go function only, to help reduce delays in payment which Chibika says has been the main source of criticism for plastic money.
Knowing that one does not need to worry about paying cash for bus-fare but can just get into the Kombi with their bank cards is an obviously great thing. This could actually reduce the risk of carrying a bag of coins which most people are getting at banks which might end up lost or stolen.
Chibika likened this initiative to loyalty cards which are popularly used by supermarkets like OK Zimbabwe who have their own cards which their customers load money onto for later transactions, He said their cards will also be made in a way that passengers will be able to load money onto them for a week or even more for later transactions.
Whether people ‘store up’ bus fare in this way is yet to be seen. It is possible that the general populace do not want to lock up money in some kind of a kombi ticket particularly if it means they have to wait for the kombis of the same particular company after work.
This initiative really has to be thought through. By the time it is introduced in February, hopefully every possibility will have been looked at.
Though if this becomes a success then most business owners will jump in and probably most Commuter Omnibuses from different routes will start accepting digital payments. This could be interesting. What are your thoughts? If the cash crisis ever gets solved, do you see this as something that will continue?
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