Rura mulls new transport tariffs following a drop in fuel prices

Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (Rura) has set up a team to look into the viability of revising downwards public transport tariffs as pump prices continue to plummet.
Passengers queue to board an omnibus at Statistic Bus Stop in downtown Kigali. (File)
Passengers queue to board an omnibus at Statistic Bus Stop in downtown Kigali. (File)

Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (Rura) has set up a team to look into the viability of revising downwards public transport tariffs as pump prices continue to plummet.

Within less than 10 months, prices for diesel and petrol have gone down from Rwf1030 a litre to Rwf895.

Speaking to The New Times, yesterday, the Director-General of Rura, Patrick Nyirishema, said they had assigned a team to work on the new tariffs, and any decision on the institution’s part will be informed by the recommendations of the team.

Fuel prices began plummeting in March with the latest pump price announced Thursday and effected yesterday.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry predicts further reduction by the end of January.

According to Nyirishema, transport prices do not fall automatically as fuel prices decrease, but it goes through a process, and Rura is not passive.

“We understand that RWf135 decrease on a litre is a significant reduction, and we have a team working on the new transport fares, so we shall let Rwandans know once the team has completed its work and made recommendations,” Nyirishema said.

Different transport operators this newspaper talked to said reducing the transport fares would not be a bad idea, but should depend on whether the fuel prices will remain down.

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passengers boarding an omnibus at Kimihurura bus station. (Timothy Kisambira)

Col. (Rtd) Ludovic Twahirwa Dodo, the chairperson of Rwanda Federation of Transport Cooperatives (RFTC), said it is up to Rura as the regulator to set new prices.

“We are ready to implement new tariffs should they be set by Rura,” Twahirwa said.

The Kigali Bus Service (KBS) supervisor on Nyabugogo-Remera route, Alto Nshimyumukiza, said they are ready for any reduction in transport fares, if they are established, adding that in their business, they expect a reduction where it is justified, just like they can petition the regulator when the prices of fuel have increased, to revise the fare upwards.

Meanwhile, as the transport fares remain the same as to when the fuel prices were high, some operators say they are taking advantage to make up for the losses they incurred.

Samson Rukundo, who operates on the Kigali-Gicumbi highway, said:
“We pray that Rura keeps the prices the way they are because we were operating on losses. The reduction of fuel prices is our gift for us for the festive season.”

Rukundo added that bus park charges and maintenance costs are high and passengers are not many on the road he plies.

But while some transporters wish the transport prices to remain the same, passengers are appealing to Rura to expedite the process to reduce the prices.

Jean Twagireyezu, who was found at the international terminal at Nyabugogo Bus Park, said transport operators exploit them, especially those that ply upcountry routes.

“I have paid Rwf1,500 today while it is normally Rwf1,000 from my home in Muhondo Sector in Gakenke District,” said Twagirayezu, who was headed to Kampala, Uganda.

Giving an example of crops sharing among the farmers, in a traditional ceremony known as Umuganura, Speciose Kanakuze, an elderly woman this newspaper found at Nyabugogo park, said it is good to share the benefits accrued from the reduced fuel prices.

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