EDITORIAL: There is no running away from responsibility

Last week, cab drivers threatened to drag Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) to court after the latter failed to address their concerns.

At the heart of the misunderstanding were new policies introduced to streamline the taxi business. All taxis would be obliged to fit metres to calculate the fares, record speeds, and easily be tracked via GPS.

Passengers would also be able to pay their fares electronically via mobile banking or other payment platforms. One would have expected taxi operators to welcome the new changes with open arms, but the honeymoon was short-lived.

First of all, there was lack of ownership on the part of cab owners; they were fairly and squarely at the mercy of a company that won the tender to supply the taxi metres and manage the payment system.

The company takes 10.5 per cent on every fare, an arrangement that the taxi owners are yet to come to terms with, on top of having to pay Rwf215,000 to acquire the metres.

The drivers complain that the metres continue to run even when the car is stationary or when they are on a private errand.

The issue here is not the disagreement as that can easily be resolved by two determined parties. The problem is that stakeholders seem to be passing the buck and shedding off any responsibility. RURA, as the regulatory body, cannot run away from responsibility.

It was part of the whole arrangement from day one and it should, therefore, be at the forefront of trying to come up with the mutually acceptable arrangement. This small matter needs not be dragged out in courts; it just needs some cool minds and a sense of responsibility.