The fleet of buses in the City of Kigali decreased from over 500 in 2013 to about 300 currently – implying a 40 per cent drop over the last 10 years, the Vice Mayor of the City of Kigali in charge of urbanisation and infrastructure has said. Merard Mpabwanamaguru made the disclosure on Thursday, May 4, while responding to a query on the need to urgently address public transport woes affecting passengers. It was during a budget hearing held virtually by the Lower House’s Committee on National Budget and Patrimony, about the spending estimates for the next fiscal year – 2023/2024. ALSO READ: Budget: MPs push for Kacyiru ‘ultra-modern’ hospital construction MP Veneranda Uwamariya, the vice chairperson of the social affairs cluster in the Lower House, said that the report of the Auditor General of State finances for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2022, indicated that public transport performance regressed compared to the past years. According to the report, in 2015, there were 22,238 passenger seats in public buses in the City of Kigali, but that capacity decreased to 19,961 seats in 2022 – implying a 10 per cent reduction or 2,277 seats less within the last seven years. “There has been an increase in queues of passengers waiting for public buses,” she said, wanting to know what the City was planning to address the issue under its public transport development project. “There were over 500 public buses in the City of Kigali in 2013, but the number reduced to about 300 currently,” Mpabwanamaguru told lawmakers, adding that such a situation reduced the passenger seat capacity of the fleet. ALSO READ: Kigali needs over 500 buses to address public transport woes Yet, Mpabwanamaguru said, in the same period, the population of the City of Kigali grew from 1,130,000 to more than 1.7 million, or a 50 per cent rise, which increased public transport needs. “Some of the buses got damaged, but their owners did not get them fixed for roadworthiness,” he said, referring to factors that led to that decline in buses plying different parts of Kigali. He added that it is that issue that resulted in public transport outcry that has existed for years in the City, and made the Government of Rwanda in general – including the City of Kigali and the Ministry of Infrastructure, and the Ministry of Public Investments and Privatisation, rise to the challenge in order to get more buses to contribute to solving the matter. “We expect that given the efforts being invested in this, at least some buses could have been available in June or July [this year] in order to develop public transport in the City,” he said, adding that the Ministry of Transport, and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning are also involved in the move in terms of providing funds. ALSO READ: Rwanda plans to spend over Rwf5 trillion in 2023/24 Meanwhile, on Wednesday, May 3, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Uzziel Ndagijimana, said that the assessment they carried out showed that there was a need for 305 more public buses in the City of Kigali, adding that their procurement has started under a public-private partnership model and that most new buses will be powered by electricity, with few running on petroleum-based fuel. He was presenting to both chambers of Parliament the Budget Framework Paper (BFP) and medium-term budget estimates for 2023/24-2025/26.