The city of Kigali together with other stakeholders are considering an extension of contracts of the three companies that operate public transport across the city for another six months.
In a phone interview, Jean d’Amour Rwunguko the Acting City Engineer, confirmed that the city with other stakeholders are considering, the extension of the current contracts.
“We are still in negotiations with Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority together with other relevant bodies to see the tenures of the three players extended for a period of six months” he said.
The three companies; Kigali Bus Services (KBS), Royal Express, and Rwanda Federation of Transport Cooperative (RFTC) first won the tender to operate public transport service in Kigali for five years back in August 2013, each with dedicated specific routes.
Rwunguko added that they were extending the contracts to allow room to feed in the findings gathered during the year-long Road Restructuring Study into terms of references for the new contracts.
The six month period will not only help them work on terms of reference for the new contracts but it would also help to launch and manage the bidding process.
The Road Restructuring Study was launched in 2018 to find out challenges and solutions that can be applied, especially on issues like convenience, new routes and the fleet size.
Bishop Kahangire, the Operations Manager of Rwanda Federation of Transport Co-operatives said the length of the contract should be increased from five years to at least 15 or 20 years.
He said that would make it easy for them to buy more buses, increasing the fleet size, and this will have a huge impact on convenience.
“The federation doesn’t have enough capital to buy new buses, so this forces us to go for loans and most of them carry a repayment period of more than five years,” he added.
On the challenge of long queues at bus stops, Kahangire said that it was not a shortage of buses but a result of insufficient roads with designated bus lanes, which slows the turnaround time for buses leading to long queues at the bus stop.
He added that the authorities need to look into the issue because sharing the narrow roads during the rush-hour with small cars was negatively affecting their service delivery.
Kahangire, said that for them, they have been working on the issue by introducing 70-seater buses replacing 30 seaters to scale up the uptake of passengers while reducing traffic.