Kampala Coaches Limited, a new Kenyan-registered bus company, has started transporting passengers from Kigali to Juba, Sudan, promising to offer better services on the route.
It is also linking passengers from Kigali to Kampala and Nairobi cities daily.
The bus company comes at the heels of complaints from Kigali traders that they are finding problems connecting to Nairobi after Regional Coaches withdrew from the route.
While most buses carry 60 passengers, the Kampala Coaches are configured to transport only 44 people.
“We are offering luxury services to our customers and very cautious about their safety,” Abdulbasiet Mohammed, the general manager Kampala Coaches Limited said in an interview with The New Times in Kampala.
“We realised there are so many people travelling to Kigali through Kampala and these were frequent travelers, so this encouraged us to start a direct route to Kigali from Nairobi,” said Mohammed.
The only bus company on the route, Regional Coaches recently suspended services leaving passengers from Kigali stranded. Some were travelling to Kampala to connect to Nairobi which is very expensive and time wasting, traders complained.With terminals already established at Nyabugogo Park in Kigali, Cooper Complex in Kampala and Nairobi city, the bus company launched the Juba route on Monday.
“We are trying to make this a travel centre for the traders in the region. Soon we will operate 24 hours since most of our customers leave early in the morning,” said Abdulbasiet Mohammed.
“We are specifically targeting traders because they travel regularly unlike students and tourists. Our services are flexible and convenient for the traders. For instance our bus fares are standard.
We don’t change our fares like most transport companies do during the festive season, high season or low, because we feel this is some kind of exploitation,” he added. He said his company is particular with drivers to ensure safety, saying they are highly motivated.
Traders were upbeat. “I am happy about this new Juba route as a trader because I am expanding my business there. After this trip I will be in position to know exactly what kind of goods to deal in; I was told that business is booming there,” said Kalisa, a trader from Kigali.
Travelling from Nairobi to Kigali costs Frw21, 600 (about Ksh2,600) while to Juba from Kampala costs Frw30,000 (about Ksh 3,600).The bus to Juba leaves Kampala at 3 a.m., while the one to Nairobi leaves at 4 p.m., and stops over in Kampala for one hour.