A hundred new diesel-powered buses which were procured by the government started transporting passengers in the City of Kigali on Friday, January 19, to improve public transport in the city. According to the City of Kigali, 40 of the buses arrived in Rwanda in November 2023, while 60 arrived in December of the same year. They consist of the first batch of the 305 buses that the government pledged during the 18th National Dialogue (Umushyikirano) on February 27, 2023, intending to address the shortage of fleet in Kigali. The Director General in charge of Transport at the Ministry of Infrastructure, Fabrice Barisanga, told The New Times, on January 19, the government ordered 200 buses so far, and half of them were shipped into the country, while another half has not yet reached the country. ALSO READ: Govt to procure 300 buses to ease public transport in Kigali Transport capacity of one bus One bus can carry 70 passengers, including access for people with disabilities having a dedicated zone in the bus. Cost Barisanga pointed out that the government was facilitating the acquisition of the buses by the private sector—transport investors—through their banks. On the cost of one bus [for transport investors], Barisanga said it includes various aspects, thus depending on landed cost as well as cost financing from different banks. He indicated that the landed cost (the total price upon shipment into the country) of one bus is around Rwf118 million, without taxes. “The GoR has facilitated [transport investors to acquire the buses] in various ways including, but not limited to, tax exemption, access to special credit guarantee coverage making the bus acquisition affordable,” Barisanga said. First 100 buses acquired by eight transport companies The 100 buses—as the first batch of the procurement—were acquired by eight companies that fulfilled bidding requirements, the City of Kigali announced on X. The companies are Yahoo Car Express, Remera Transport Cooperative, Nyabugogo Transport Cooperative, City Centre Transport Cooperative, S.U Direct Services, Jali Transport, 4G Ju Transport, and RITCO, the city indicated. Manufacturer The buses were made by Yutong, a Chinese manufacturer of commercial vehicles. Yutong is the world's largest bus manufacturer by sales volume of large and medium-sized buses and coaches. Govt wants the manufacturer to have a service centre in Rwanda On concerns around the quality or durability of buses that are procured into the country in general, as more than a hundred of those previously imported are no longer working, Barisanga said the challenges in the past were predominantly around the maintenance strategy by bus owners and availability of genuine spare parts on the local market. Going forward, he indicated that such challenges were taken into consideration for effective maintenance. “The new ordered buses are used to Rwandan conditions since it is the predominant model on the local market, thus a preferred bus brand by the operators. We have negotiated with the manufacturer to have a service centre in Kigali that will provide maintenance support and genuine spare parts,” he said.