Shortage of public buses in Rwanda has been a persistent problem that has resulted in a range of issues for travellers. From being late for work or home due to long queues at bus parks to the emergence of unguided alternatives, the impact of these shortages has been widely felt as evidenced by incessant complaints voiced on different social media platforms. The shortage has given rise to fraudulent activities in public transport ticketing, where certain individuals exploit the situation for their own financial gain. This is in addition to other options whereby owners of private cars opt to give people rides while charging them a fee. ALSO READ: RURA clarifies on ride-sharing concerns as public transport challenges persist Talking to The New Times, Marcel Ndayiragije, who works as a casual labourer in Nyabugogo taxi park, shed light on the practices that have emerged due to the public bus shortage. Some individuals purchase multiple tickets and resell them at a premium to passengers in a hurry, he said. This dubious resale is carried out with the passengers' consent, without the use of force. Ndayiragije further explained, The passenger and the ticket holder mutually agree on the resale price. It means that for lack of better options, this alternative, though more expensive, is seen as a preferable option to taking a private car due to its lower cost. Clementine Uwineza, a passenger found at the park, also shared her comment, stating, When one is in a rush, they can obtain tickets from individuals who had previously purchased them, with an additional fee of approximately Rwf 500 serving as compensation for the seller's assistance. While the resale occurs with the passengers' consent, it plays on their urgency and adds an additional financial burden to already strained commuters, she added. ALSO READ: Kigali needs over 500 buses to address public transport woes More complaints flowed in when the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA), in response, reminded of the legal implications of offering rides to fellow travellers. RURA highlighted the difference between providing a friendly gesture and engaging in commercial transportation services without authorisation, in a tweet made under a thread post of a Twitter user who was complaining about the shortage of public buses. ALSO READ: RURA seeks more investors to help address public transport woes Anyone engaged in the transportation business is required to obtain authorisation from the institution,” the post read. However, RURA’s response addressed only one component of it, emphasising the need for individuals engaged in the transportation business to obtain proper authorisation. It clarified that offering a ride to someone without monetary exchange is not inherently problematic. However, those drivers who transport passengers and charge them without the necessary authorisation to operate as a transportation service face penalties. Notwithstanding, the issue of fraudulent ticket sales remained unaddressed, despite the institution’s latest response, in a tweet, that they are intensifying inspections to ensure that those who do not comply with RURA approved tickets are punished. They also urged people to share information via their toll free lines 3988 or 2222. However, as of yet, the entity in charge has been unable to provide The New Times with additional information. According to René Manzi, Operations Manager at the Rwanda Association of Passenger Transporters (ATPR), which manages Nyabugogo taxi park, they are aware of the issue of fraudulent ticket sales and have been actively working to address it, especially during peak seasons. “Some fraudsters are well aware that we are currently in a peak season, leading to a shortage of available vehicles. They buy tickets and resell them to desperate passengers, he said. To combat the problem, Manzi said that ATPR has has communicated a rule that no individual should be allowed to purchase more than one ticket. “This directive has been communicated to all cashiers working for transportation companies. If someone wishes to purchase an extra ticket, another designated staff member must approve the transaction,” he said. Manzi further highlighted their collaborative efforts with the police, RURA, and other security personnel to apprehend the fraudsters and curb the illicit ticket trade. Godfrey Nkusi, Managing Director of Rwanda Inter-Link Transport Company (RITCO Ltd), also acknowledges the issue but assures that they have implemented control measures. “We have established a supervisory team to ensure that each printed ticket bears the name of its rightful owner. We have also enforced rules to prevent any individual from purchasing more than one ticket. In cases where tickets are bought for children, the child must be present during the purchase,” he said. Bosco Tuyishime, Public Relations Officer at Horizon Express, mentioned that their tickets can be conveniently purchased through Momo or at their office located in various parks. To combat fraudulent activities, he explained that they also require all ticket purchasers to provide their real names. Furthermore, Tuyishime noted that RURA surveyors regularly inspect their buses to verify ticket information. “If a passenger is found with a ticket that does not match their name, the company faces penalties. This proactive approach ensures that we are effectively addressing the issue,” he added.