RURA cracks whip on errant taxi cab operators

Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) has warned cab drivers to clean up their operations and adopt digital billing machines amid the national drive to encourage digital payment systems.

The warning was issued on Tuesday as the utilities regulator met with cab operators in the City of Kigali and Yego Innovation ltd—the developers of the cab based digital billing system known as Yego Cabs.

The resolutions that were adopted involve punishing operators who don’t use the Yego Cabs metre as well as those who are not licenced.

Under the new measures, drivers who don’t use the digital system will be fined Rwf200,000 and or have their licenses suspended. 

Savion Munyaneza, the leader of the taxi operators’ cooperatives in Kigali said that unlicensed operators were distorting the market by charging unfair prices.

This, he stated, encouraged passengers to shun taxis that use the metres, prompting drivers to abandon the metres.

“We implore licensed cab drivers to alert us whenever they meet unlicensed drivers who take passengers away from them at reduced fares,” said Tony Kulamba, the General Manager of Transport at RURA.

A passenger is charged Rwf1,500 for the first one kilometre of their journey and Rwf700 per every extra kilometre.

Taxi owners pay 10.5 per cent of the income to Yego Innovatio ltd, which they claim is high.

Cab drivers said they were being challenged by network failures, which slowed down their operations and hurting the reputation of the digital payment system.

Kulamba said that the resolutions have been adopted to address the issues raised.

RURA urged Yego Innovation ltd to upgrade options for the cab-based applications to facilitate better communication between drivers and passengers.

Other recommendations include capacity building for leaders of taxi drivers’ cooperatives in terms of management.

“There are some technical issues with meters which will be discussed by Yego Innovation with the drivers in a meeting we have recommended. The other problem is lack of effective communication between cab drivers and the company which we have also recommended to be improved,” Kulamba added.

Aline Uwamahoro, the Executive Assistant to the CEO of Yego Innovation ltd, said that while network failure is a problem in some cases, which slows down the way the payment system functions, the issue will be addressed through effective communication.

At least 600 passengers use Yego Cabs every day, but the drivers respect the use of the the digital metre at an average rate of less than 40 per cent considering that there are about 1,000 drivers registered on the platform. 

“We are going to improve the way of communication with taxi drivers, set up structures of sharing information and organise meetings with them on the issue of some technical issues,” she said.

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