The contract for each of the bus companies that provide public transport in City of Kigali came to an end last year, with City Hall and the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) adding the three transport firms an additional one year pending an assessment of their services and the existing gaps.
The additional one year is set to end in August.
City of Kigali says they have recently conducted a study to ascertain the quality of services offered by the three bus companies, including the size of their fleet, how both old and new routes are being served, the time intervals between one bus and the next one, among others.
This comes amid continued complaints from members of the public, with many citing continued shortage of buses especially during peak hours resulting in long delays at bus stops, and overloading of passengers.
Since the new public arrangement was adopted some six years ago a lot has changed. The city has grown further and new suburbs have emerged in areas with no designated bus routes.
While it was the right decision not to automatically renew the contracts of the current service providers with view of identifying issues that need to be attended to, it is important that authorities take into account the various concerns from the public to ensure improved services going forward.
However, with just about four months to the expiry of the current contract, time is running out for the authorities to finalise with the assessment of the current services, draw up new terms of reference, call for bids, give the potential bidders considerable time to meet the requirements (including acquiring buses), and then evaluate and decide on the bids.
Given the sensitivities that surround public transport, it is critical that all concerned authorities urgently pull their efforts together to ensure that this exercise is conducted in a timely, transparent and professional manner.