The Ugandan commuter can now replace cash payments in commuter buses with a simple Tap and Go card; a smarter, more convenient, and certainly more future-leaning way to pay transport fare in and around the city and eventually the country.
Launched at this year’s National Science Week, the KaCyber Go Card, Uganda’s first contactless transport card is an initiative of KaCyber Technologies, a transportation technology company, in partnership with Kiira Motors Corporation with facilitation from the Government of Uganda.
The card was launched at the closing ceremony of the just concluded National Science Week 2023 by the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja. In her remarks, the Prime Minister, who had made the specific request to KaCyber Technologies one year earlier at the same event to build a cashless payment system for public transport, “similar to the one in London”, was elated to see “science at work”.
Piloted and tested on the Kiira Motors’ Kayoola EVS buses, which were also a crowd pleaser during the event, the card works in tandem with a ticketing validation machine that is installed inside the bus at both entrances/exits. To pay the bus fare, or transport, as we call it, one simply places their card within proximity of the machine and the amount for the journey is automatically deducted. The amount deducted as well as the balance on the card is displayed on the screen during every transaction so that the passenger knows exactly how much they’ve been charged.
To pay their transport fare, one can load as much or as little money as they wish on their KaCyber Go card using mobile money or from their bank account.
Card users can manage their accounts online via kacyber.com or on the KaCyber Go App, allowing them to monitor transactions, check balances, and view journey histories.
In case of loss or damage, users can easily obtain a replacement card, often with the same balance and travel history as the original card.
Commuters will find using the card simple and painless because it is designed with an inbuilt chip, that is no less remarkable than that used in the UK Oyster or US Metro Cards and is enabled by internationally recognized ISO I4443 Type A Near Field Communication technology (NFCA) which means the user doesn’t need have to tap their card directly on to the ticketing validating machines but can pay by simply placing the card the machine’s proximity to enable the transaction.
With great technology and digitalization, however, comes consumer anxiety but KaCyber has also built into the cards multiple security layers to ensure the card’s integrity and user privacy and employs fraud detection algorithms to identify and flag suspicious transactions, protecting users from fraudulent activities.
This smart, digital, and contactless payment technology solution changes the game for commuters and bus operators and updates and breathes new life into Uganda’s transport industry in a long overdue way.
For the commuter, the prepaid card allows for planning and tracking of transport expenses and eliminates the often-irritating scuffles for ‘change/balance’ with conductors during rush hours when one has neither the time nor the patience for it.
Innocent Orikiiriza, the Founder and CEO of KaCyber Technologies, believes that this is yet another giant leap towards digitization and overall modernization of Uganda’s transport sector and an advancement that will ease public transportation for commuters and operators alike.
For the operators, this digital payment solution promises to dramatically increase the efficiency of revenue tracking, minimizing the income leakages that come with entrusting collections solely to conductors. It also eliminates human error and theft and will thus guarantee increased profitability.
The immediate rollout of the KaCyber Go Card will be on Kiira Motors’ first 20 Electric Kayoola Buses slated to operate in Kampala and Jinja. It is expected that usage will then eventually extend to commuter trains, government ferries, inter-city buses, and even taxis.
This digitized ticketing and payment solution mounted on the eco-friendly Kayoola EVS electric buses that are the first of their kind to be produced in Uganda and Africa aren’t just a coincidental combined achievement for Uganda but a deliberate part of the government’s initiative towards modernization as outlined in Digitalization Transformation RoadMap and Transport Masterplan.
KaCyber’s contactless Card Payment Technology has been developed following the receipt of an innovation grant of UGX433,000,000 from the Science, Technology, and Innovation Secretariat — Office of the President as part of FY 22/23’s National Research and Innovation Call geared at supporting Innovation for Fast Tracking Value Addition and Industrialization.
The Ugandan government’s ultimate goal with this national transport master plan, as the Minister of Works and Transport, Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala says, is to foster economic growth and enhance the living conditions of citizens.
The Kiira Motors Corporation Partnership with KaCyber Technologies is a step forward in setting Uganda’s cities on the path to becoming one of the Cities of the Future that National Geographic envisions to be actualized by 2050 but more importantly an important action point towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.