It is more than 10 days since the City of Kigali and the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority awarded exclusive rights to three firms to manage public transport in Kigali.
With this new public transport system, Kigali is expected not only to be in position to decongest the city but also improve traffic flow.
At its launch it was feted as a way of streamlining public transport and time saving.
However, before we realise the transformation, the new system is struggling to keep on track.
This paper last week published a story of passengers waiting for hours before getting a bus and operators parking beyond the recommended time. We also published a story of shortage of buses.
Many of our readers reacted to the stories and faulted Kigali for introducing the new system without proper planning.
Dogged by delays, inadequate buses—most of which are old and inefficient—the new city public transport system may need a review-authorities should return to the drawing board and devise more avenues of improving the new transport system.
The challenges dogging the new system show that a lot more needs to be done.
While phasing out low capacity taxis from Kigali is welcome, the performance of bus transit system can be enhanced when the fare revenue is adequate to meet operating costs and purchase new buses.
Without a feasible strategy and a sustainable financing model, the current system may be headed for bigger challenges.
There is a need for a consistent plan to recover operating costs if the buses are to be able to expand their operations and replenish their vehicle fleets.
The buses can look into the possibility of using automated fare collection system to minimise costs associated with abuse of the ticketing system by some staff and even save time. There is also need to diversify revenue sources for the transport firms.
Experts say dependence on fare revenue alone may not be sustainable. The transport companies can formulate innovative policies to enhance fare revenue earnings. One way of doing this is by enticing business firms to pay for advertising space on the buses.
The transport firms must be innovative enough to reduce operating costs and diversify revenue sources in order to survive.