Cab drivers urged on use of metres

Cab drivers were urged to use metres after it was realised that only 30 per cent use it while others prefer to switch the off and negotiate the fare with passengers. Officials say the use of metres benefit both passengers and cab taxi owners. Nadege Imbabazi.

The government has urged cab drivers to embrace technology and use Intelligent Connected Fare Metres (ICFM), saying such a technology would benefit both drivers and passengers.

This comes after it was realised that the majority of cab drivers do not use metres and prefer negotiating with passengers about the fare to be paid.

Cab drivers pay 10.5 per cent of the fare registered in the metres from each passenger, a situation that has existed for almost six years now.

However, it has emerged that only 30 per cent of cab drivers use metres regularly, something officials said should change.

All taxi drivers should have metres and switch them on while on duty, according to the regulator, RURA.

This was said on Tuesday during a meeting between officials from RURA, Police and the Ministry of Infrastructure to discuss with cab drivers operators face and chart ways to solve them.

“The use of metres is still low due to the issue of mind-set and we need to do more mobilisation of both cab drivers and passengers,” said Emmanuel Asaba Katabarwa, head of transport regulation department at RURA.

Cab drivers allege that the 10.5 per cent was too much, which is why they are reluctant to use them.

However, officials from RURA say that the prices were revised together with heads of drivers’ cooperatives and have been agreed upon.

According to Patrick Nyirishema, RURA director general, the 10.5 per cent was calculated basing on various factors and passengers are the ones who cover the cost.

He added that there should be no reason to worry as no losses will be incurred if metres are used efficiently.

“The issue of Intelligent Connected Fare Metres was discussed together with cab drivers’ cooperatives and we agreed on how it is calculated. The problem is communication, we need to improve mobilisation for all taxi drivers to understand,” he said.

Unlike previously when cab drivers complained of not being allowed to use their vehicles for personal and family matters such as taking children to school, taking patients to hospital as well as going for other personal errands, RURA says this is no longer the case.

It said that cab drivers pay Fare Metres of 65 per cent of the estimated 200 kilometres they drive per day. That means that cab drivers have 65km to drive on personal errands per day.

Transport fees increased

Fares in the city were also revised from Rwf550 per kilometre to Rwf778 for ordinary taxis and Rwf1150 for those operating at the airport to ensure that drivers do not count losses.

The new prices, which started being implemented yesterday, replace the old ones set up in 2015 and were set in consultation with cab drivers through their cooperatives, according to RURA officials.

According to Jean de Dieu Uwihanganye, the State Minister for Transport, the use of metres should be seen as a way to embrace technology, ensure the safety of passengers as well as improve transparency in the transport sector.

“The technology of metres helps a lot, it benefits both passengers and cab drivers, it also helps us ensure the security for all as all people in transport services are monitored  by police and RURA so that they can be supported in case a security issue arises,” he said.

Alfred Nyarwaya, a cab driver, said that while the transport fees increased, it will still be difficult to make profit when they still use metres.

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