Passengers who use public transport will soon encounter adjustments in transport costs due to a new plan by the government to remove subsidies in the sector, according to Jimmy Gasore, the Minister of Infrastructure. Gasore told the national broadcaster on Sunday, February 11 that in the forthcoming weeks, individuals would be required to pay the full transport fees, signifying the conclusion of three years of subsidized fares. It commenced in October 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic when the government opted to subsidize one-third of the fare for passengers. For instance, if a person had to pay Rwf 3000 from Kigali to Musanze, they only paid Rwf 2000 while the government covered the remaining Rwf 1000, he elaborated. ALSO READ: 100 new buses start operations in Kigali Gasore stressed that since October 2020, the government has disbursed Rwf 87.5 billion on public transport, with over Rwf 6 billion spent solely in January. He further highlighted the government's intervention in fuel prices in 2021 to curb hikes, expending over Rwf 25 billion in subsidies over the years. After meticulous assessment, the government concluded that these subsidies had become burdensome, notably considering their impact on other sectors pivotal for the country's development, Gasore added. He cited sectors such as fertilizers, education, and infrastructure as examples of areas affected by the subsidies, hampering their progress. Looking forward, Gasore revealed that the government has initiated new bus projects and reduced bus fares through subsidies. It's now imperative for the government to prioritize securing an adequate number of buses and mitigating the burden on passengers, he added. Meanwhile, last month, 100 new buses commenced operations in the City of Kigali to enhance public transport, with 40 buses arriving in Rwanda in November 2023 and the remaining 60 in December. ALSO READ: Commuters urged to be patient as Covid-19 disrupts public transport The minister highlighted that another batch of 100 buses is anticipated to arrive in March. Gasore explained that the decision was made thoughtfully, considering potential impacts on passengers, who may face slight fare increases. The government intends to implement a pay-per-trip system instead of charging for the entire journey to alleviate the burden. We are finalizing the process to enable passengers to pay per trip. For instance, if someone is heading to Kinamba bus stop and boards the Remera line bus, the new system will only charge them for the Kinamba journey, he elucidated. Regarding the timeline, Gasore affirmed that the changes would be rolled out in a few weeks, commencing in Kigali and eventually extending to other regions. Commenting on passenger readiness, Jean Claude Musabyimana, the Minister of Local Government, underscored that all changes are made in the citizens' interest. He urged citizens to comprehend that the government sacrifices other programs to bridge the gap in public transport, thereby contributing to the country's developmental endeavors.