Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) has issued a set of measures intended to curb the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 – COVID-19 in public passenger transport vehicles by ensuring fewer passengers in a vehicle.
The regulator announced on May 4, 2020, that in a bid to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in public passenger transport cars, the passengers should comply with the social/physical distancing along the journey.
The new measures follow the decision by government to partially lift the lockdown that has been in place since March 21, whose implementation went into force on Monday.
Following the new directive, majority of the businesses resumed operating but officials emphasized the need to exercise precaution so that the virus does not spread further, and among these is maintaining a one-metre distance between individuals at all times.
In this regard, the regulator has put marks in passenger vehicle seats, whereby those on which passengers should sit have a check mark (tick), while those on which passengers are not allowed to sit bear a cross mark.
Passenger vehicles that have been carrying 70 people will now take 32 while those that have been carrying 29 will now not exceed 12 passengers.
“Passengers are reminded to wash their hands [with clean water and soap] before boarding a bus, wearing face masks, and obeying the recommended at least one-meter social/physical distancing between one passenger and another when boarding, and getting out of the bus,” the agency said in a statement.
Providers of passenger transport services are requested to use cashless payment technology in order to avoid the cash transactions which can contribute to the transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is in a bid to cushion the transporters against the losses they may incur due to the new directives reducing the number of passengers they can carry on a given commute.
For instance, for the Remera-Chez Lando – Kacyiru – Nyabugogo route, a passenger is required to pay Rwf367 while the same route used to cost Rwf260.
The prices were revised for commute within Kigali and provinces.
The regulator reminded commuters who use public transport that so far, transport between the City of Kigali and provinces, and interprovincial transport are prohibited.
On Monday morning, there was commotion at different bus terminals as passengers overwhelmed the available vehicles but this was streamlined after a few hours, with coordination between the transporters and police among other stakeholders.
Many commuters, however, called upon institutions to devise measures to ensure there is more efficiency during peak hours in the evening as the commotion is likely to reoccur, especially since commuters will be working to beat the 8:00pm curfew.
The COVID-19 has as of May 3, 2020 affected 259 people in Rwanda, as per confirmed cases by the Ministry of Health.
As of May 4, 2020, over 3.5 million cases of COVID-19, and more than 247,000 deaths from the pandemic were confirmed according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.Follow https://twitter.com/EmNtirenganya