Discard app-centric mentality and deploy humans to fix transport woes

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A passenger boards a minibus at Kimihurura bus stop. / File

Editor,

RE: “Revisit Kigali’s public transport system” (The New Times, March 15).

If indeed it is true bus drivers receive a contract and fixed salary, then the issue here is the level of the salary. Are they being paid enough to ensure the professionalism claimed by Nille Muneza, Royal Express CEO?

I wonder what the terms of these contracts are, and what employment protection looks like for these drivers.

There are fundamental issues plaguing the transport sector and I have yet to hear or read of any solution that effectively addresses any of the problems. Now we’re on to a card-based “demerit-point system”.

Yet the article is vague at best as to how the actual monitoring of bus driver offenses will happen.

Instead, at the end of the article the buck is passed to the passengers to monitor the drivers on behalf of their companies. Is that the customer-service level we can continue to expect here from our buses? Looks like it, doesn’t it?

As Kigali Girl stated, shorten these bus company contracts. Clearly, if KBS is going under before even its five-year deal is up, and the company blames this on “financial leakages”, then there is rot in the way these businesses are being operated.

Not one of these bus companies has any control over the drivers of their fleets. And now the companies are fumbling around with one “tech-solution” to the next.

Why not place your staff at all the high-turnout bus stops and make sure your bus drivers do not spend more than 3-5 minutes at a given station? It’s a simple solution that is more effective than any card or app you can come up with.

Like I said before, this app-centric mentality is not going to help us with this specific issue. Not everything requires a smart card. Sometimes the best solution is to install a smart person. A live human being. This is a job. I would think, in a country such as ours, job creation would still be a bigger focus than app-creation.

We are not the first country to run public bus transportation. This is not uncharted territory. Look around a little bit at the countries that have a sound, safe and reliable metro bus network. It’s not magic, so please stop treating this problem with needlessly complex yet ineffective attempts at solutions.

Nobody needs demerit-cards. It’s pointless. Get real people to stand at the bus stops and make the drivers move on after 3-5 minutes.

Dayo Ntwari

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The demerit-point system is a great tool in keeping track of traffic offenders but it only works if fully integrated with technology. If its implementation isn’t at par with active policing, careless driving will not be curbed at all.

I hope they keep this in mind.

My personal experience working with the Ministry of Transportation here in Ontario has taught me this. Careless driving is universal and requires heavy policing. Sadly.

Ali Rukariza