Nairobi motorists can now pay for parking via their mobile phones following the launch of a pilot e-payment programme.
The Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment platform (EBPP) was launched by Nairobi city council at the end of August. The project, which involves drivers paying for parking tickets electronically from their mobile bank accounts, will be in place in Nairobi for three months before being introduced to satellite towns around the capital and eventually throughout Kenya.
After parking, motorists can pay Nairobi City Council via text message by registering their ID number and name and sending it to 3032. The motorist then receives a response containing a PIN Number which is required – along with the car's registration, location (on street, off-street, outside Central Business District or inside council markets) and duration – to be sent back to 3032.
For those subscribed to yu Mobile, Airtel and Orange networks, a response will then confirm that the parking fee has been accepted, while customers on other networks must pay through registered car park attendants who will pay on their behalf.
The electronic payment system is an attempt by the city council to claw back some of its colossal debts, and is a departure from the previous traffic ticket system whereby motorists paid cash directly to parking attendants. An investigation in 2010 found that half of the attendants were issuing fake receipts and were withholding up to 75 per cent of daily takings from the council.