Relief as more public buses hit Kigali roads

Public transport in the City of Kigali has received a boost as 25 more new coaster buses hit city roads. The buses are expected to ease pressure on the existing fleet that have been struggling with passenger overflow.
New fleet of buses owned by Rwanda Federation of Transport Cooperatives in Nyabugogo Park on Tuesday. (John Mbanda)
New fleet of buses owned by Rwanda Federation of Transport Cooperatives in Nyabugogo Park on Tuesday. (John Mbanda)

Public transport in the City of Kigali has received a boost as 25 more new coaster buses hit city roads. The buses are expected to ease pressure on the existing fleet that have been struggling with passenger overflow.

The buses, imported from Japan by Rwanda Federation Transport cooperative (RFTC), cost Rwf1.5 billion.

RFTC’s president Dodo Twahirwa, said: “We needed to increase our fleet because we understand the need and the impact in terms of job creation they bring to the economy of this country.

The buses arrived at Nyabugogo bus terminal on Tuesday. 

Dodo also said 15 more buses will be arriving soon in line with our commitment to help plug the transport gap in the city.

The City of Kigali mayor, Fidele Ndayisaba, re-affirmed the need to further streamline public transport to help cut the cost of doing business in the city.

“The need to respect the contracts operators signed with us and the regulatory body, Rwanda Utility Regulatory Authority (Rura), remains paramount. It is in the interest of the public that city transport be streamlined to allow easy movement and facilitate efficiency in doing business,” Ndayisaba said. 

The mayor told the operators to respect time schedules and traffic regulations or face penalties.

Jean-Claude Rurangwa, the in charge of public transport and safety management at Kigali City Council, said efforts to hold business operators accountable in the City are ongoing.

Public transport revolution

Rwanda Federation Transport cooperative (RFTC), Kigali Bus Services (KBS), and Royal Bus Company Limited were last year awarded contracts to take full charge of the city’s public transport.

As part of the deal, public transport operators are supposed to bring into the country more than 200 new buses to meet the increasing demand.

According to Rurangwa, the City is in a deficit of big buses, which is forcing operators to overload passengers. 

Officials at Rura recently warned bus owners and operators against overloading.

“There is still a gap of 200 buses in the City of Kigali. There are also loopholes in the new transport arrangement but it is still too early, we hope the companies will fix these issues,” Rurangwa told The New Times.

However, this problem could soon be addressed as the City prepares to welcome more 100 new buses from China.

The deal could cost more than $5.7 million (about Rwf4 billion), according to Charles Ngarambe, the executive chairperson of Kigali Bus Services, who are primed to import the new fleet of buses. 

Chantal Uwitonze, a businesswoman in Nyabugogo in Nyarugenge District, Kigali, said streamlined public transport will ease business for urban dwellers.

“It is encouraging to see efforts to deliver quality services, but the City of Kigali should follow up on developments closely because some operators are not delivering to expectation, leaving many people to get stranded at bus stops longer than necessary,” Uwitonze said.

 

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