EDITORIAL: New bus company should strive to make a difference

It’s a new dawn for the transport sector in the country as Rwanda Interlink Transport Company Limited (RITCO) prepares to start operations in two weeks. The firm, formed through a public-private partnership venture, has already shipped in 20 buses to provide public transport on up-country routes

It’s a new dawn for the transport sector in the country as Rwanda Interlink Transport Company Limited (RITCO) prepares to start operations in two weeks.

The firm, formed through a public-private partnership venture, has already shipped in 20 buses to provide public transport on up-country routes. RITCO replaced the former state-run transport bus company, Onatracom, which folded last year after it could not operate profitably due to poor management, among other challenges.

The new firm’s officials say it will initially focus on local routes, particularly the hard to-reach areas that are not fully served by the private sector.

That RITCO has brought in modern buses that will ensure passenger safety and comfort is also a plus. Onatracom buses were shunned by many travellers on local and regional routes because they were uncomfortable and old; one of the reasons the bus company struggled financially.

RITCO operations will also support the local tourism drive, encouraging Rwandans and foreigners to visit the various attractions across the country under the Tembera U Rwanda campaign. It’s a fact that affordable and comfortable transport encourages travel and the reverse is true. The buses will ease cost of doing business by providing rural operators affordable cargo transport services.

However, RITCO, the government and other stakeholders must provide good customer service and promote governance. This way, old mistakes that brought Onatracom to its knees will be avoided.

The public transport sector was identified as the worst service provider by the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority report for July 2015 to December 2016 on customer satisfaction in the sectors under RURA supervision.

The sector also had 63 per cent of the total complaints lodged between July, 2015 and June, 2016, including dropping off passengers at wrong places and poor customer care. Hopefully, the new player will avoid these mistakes and offer top quality services besides easing connectivity challenges across the country.

 

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