The City of Kigali is set to roll out a pilot phase for the Dedicated Bus Lane (DBL) system as a means of making public transport better. The DBL will occupy two lanes of the CBD-Sonotubes-Giporoso road during peak hours (early morning and evening) – the time when most people are going to and from their workplaces. ALSO READ: How will dedicated bus lanes impact public transport in Kigali? A source in the City of Kigali told The New Times that before choosing this corridor, a feasibility study was done and different roads were examined. “After a multi-criteria analysis, the CBD- Giporoso corridor was selected as the pilot given the benefits it would yield,” the source said. One of the key characteristics of this road is that it has four lanes, which makes it easy to dedicate two to buses that are carrying passengers in peak hours, while the remaining two are used by private cars. In addition, it is a road that has high commutability demand. “This corridor has a great travel demand. For the DBLs to work well, it should have high demand corridors,” said Alphonse Nkurunziza, a senior lecturer of transport planning, engineering and urban structure at the University of Rwanda. According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), an association of 100 major North American cities and transit agencies, DBLs are typically applied on major routes with frequent headways (10 minutes at peak) or where traffic congestion may significantly affect reliability. As on-time performance degrades, consider more aggressive treatments to speed transit service. Agencies may set ridership or service standard benchmarks for transitioning bus service to a transit-only facility. Lanes may be located immediately at the curb or in an offset configuration, replacing the rightmost travel lane on a street where parking is permitted. Public transporters welcome move In a media interview, officials at the association of public transporters said they had spent more than 10 years asking the government for the DBLs as a solution to traffic jam. “People spend time in queues waiting for buses not only because they are few. The scarcity of buses is an issue, but there are more problems in addition to that, for example traffic jam. Sometimes, a bus can spend hours traveling from Kanombe to the CBD due to traffic jam,” noted Theoneste Mwunguzi, the Chairman of the association. Walter Rubegasa Hunde, the spokesperson of the Private Sector Federation, said traffic jam is a major concern for public transport operators especially in the morning and evening. “This delays people going to work,” he said. “I think dedicating some lanes to public buses during morning and evening hours will benefit both the travellers and the investors,” he added. ALSO READ: The rigours of public transport in Kigali Meanwhile, Chris Kost, a public transport expert working with the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy as its program director for Africa, said the DBLs are a good short-term measure but “it is crucial for the city to move towards implementing a bus rapid transit (BRT) system without further delay.” The BRT is a high-capacity public transport service that generally runs on DBLs and corridors to avoid delays that typically slow regular bus services. Although the characteristics of each system may vary, the BRT allows buses to zoom past traffic and offer fast and predictable journey times. Under the system, buses only stop at designated stations where passengers typically prepay the fare before boarding, which streamlines and speeds up operations. “BRT provides a higher level of service and capacity compared to traditional bus services, offering a viable alternative to private cars and motos. BRT can also anchor compact city development, helping to prevent urban sprawl,” Kost said. “It is essential that any grade separators or road upgrades along planned BRT corridors include provision for BRT in order to avoid the need for costly retrofits in the future. In addition, any new buses should have doors on both sides to enable a seamless transition to BRT without the need to procure a new fleet,” he added.