Rwanda Interlink Transport Company Limited (RITCO Ltd), a public-private-partnership venture in public transport, is set to launch its operations on upcountry routes today.
The company, established to mitigate public transport woes for rural folks yesterday unveiled 20 new buses for the launch.
RITCO was set up following the liquidation of the public transport company, ONATRACOM last year.
The new company ordered a total of 165 buses to be delivered in phases.
The first consignment, made up of 50 buses, has been delivered with the first batch of 20 buses having already arrived in Rwanda and 30 more still in transit.
Robert Muhizi, RITCO’s Chairman of the Board, told journalists yesterday that they plan to invest Rwf11 billion to help address transport woes in rural areas.
“Transport is key to the development of the country and the commitment shown by RITCO shareholders during the last seven months after its establishment proves that the company will achieve its goals, and be profitable,” said Muhizi.
Dr Alexis Nzahabwanimana, the Minister of State in charge of Transport, said government is committed to addressing long-time public transportation challenges left behind by ONATRACOM that folded because it could no longer meet its costs.
“When we thought of this venture we had realised that there was need for behaviour change as the former ONATRACOM personnel handled government properties carelessly. A bus could be grounded because of a small mechanical problem while in other cases spare parts were removed and put onto another bus, which slowly affected its fleet numbers,” said Dr Nzahabwanimana.
He further added that 55 old buses that were still operational by the time ONATRACOM was liquidated have been well maintained by RITCO in the last seven months, and are now raking in profits for the new company.
In the first seven months, RITCO has been able to meet its operational costs with the old 55 buses and made a 20 per cent savings in addition to paying its taxes, officials said.
An audit conducted by Ernest & Young in 2012 concluded that ONATRACOM had difficulty fulfilling its socio-economic mission, due to high institutional and operating costs, as well as poor management of the institution which ultimately gave way to the creation of RITCO Ltd.