What are the disposal options for ONATRACOM’s old fleet?

The official said that there are over 80 buses that are grounded at ONATRACOM headquarters in Nyamirambo sector. Photos by Michel Nkurunziza

When Onatracom, which was a government-owned public transport company was dissolved in 2016 and rebranded to a public-private partnership under the name of ‘Rwanda Interlink Transport Company (RITCO)’, its old buses were dumped.

The public-private-partnership was one of the ways to fix gaps in public transport in rural and urban areas following the liquidation of Onatracom.

The revamping was carried out because by 2011, Onatracom which was then government public transport company was in financial woes over Rwf4.6bn debt owed to different institutions including revenue authority.

After the government wrote off the huge debt, new buses were bought in 2017 and old buses were dumped due to mechanical deficiencies.

However, Business Times has established that the dumped old fleet are still lying idle in Nyamirambo sector remaining a threat to the environment.

Environmentalists say that there is a way old cards can be dismantled and recycled into new products.

While there exists other types of waste are disposed in different landfills, there is no known place for disposal of old cars in Rwanda which lead most of dumped vehicles scattered in different public places.

It is in this context that the recycling solution remains pending for the defunct ONATRACOM fleet according to its management.

Godfrey Nkusi, the Managing Director of Rwanda Interlink Transport Company (RITCO) told Business Times that negotiations are underway to find solution to the dumped buses.

“We are still discussing with potential investors that these old buses can be dismantled and transformed into other used,” he said.

The official said that there are over 80 buses that are grounded at its headquarters in Nyamirambo sector.

“We realised that there are technology for transforming such buses into new buses and it also happens in Kenya. The bus can be given new chassis which is the main support for the structure of the motor vehicle to which all other components are attached and be reused

That is why we are still considering those buses as resources and I think in coming days we will get the tangible solution,” he said.

In May this year, Kenya media reported that the Kenya, Under the Draft National Automotive Policy, plans to establish systems to collect used cars that are no longer road worthy for recycling.

New investment

 Nkusi said that the company under public-private partnership started with 33 new buses in 2017 with target to reach 163 buses in five years.

“So far we have increased the buses up to 133 buses including new 50 buses we have recently bought,” he said.

Thanks to the investment, the number of transported passengers per year has increased from 191,000 in 2017 to 1.7 million passenger and 2.7 million passengers in 2018 with target to transport 3.5 million passengers in 2020.

“We are going to double lines connecting all rural areas and urban areas. Lines will increase from 43 to 90 lines,” he said.

The new buses have WIFI availability and speed governors besides charging points for mobile phones.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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