Effective November 1, public transport fare will increase for both passenger commuter buses and taxi cabs.
The new fares, announced by Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) yesterday, was done after a comprehensive study of the industry, the utility said.
On public buses, the fare increased by two francs to Rwf20 per kilometre on Kigali city routes and to Rwf19 from Rwf18 per kilometre on upcountry routes.
Speaking to The New Times, yesterday, Emmanuel Asaba Katabarwa, the head of transport department at RURA, said the new fares seek to ensure the operators recoup their investments and also get some profit.
RURA has also set the basic fare for taxi cabs at Rwf1,500 for the first kilometre and Rwf500 for every extra kilometre covered.
The fare for airport taxis has been set at Rwf2,500 for the first kilometre, an increase of Rwf700, and for every extra kilometre, the passenger will incur Rwf600.
“The current transport fare was set three years ago and, since then, the industry has seen many developments, leading to the increase of operational costs. We have fairly increased fares to ensure mutual benefits between operators and passengers,” he said.
Katabarwa said taxi drivers have been making losses due to the lower basic fare, a complaint the regulator found valid.
“The taxi’s basic fare will cover one kilometre as opposed to the previous three kilometres. The waiting time fee has also been set at Rwf1,000 per every 15 minutes but the first 15 minutes will not be charged for,” he said.
The new fares will be valid for a period of two years except if the fuel exceeds Rwf959 or goes below Rwf817 per litre, according to the RURA statement.
Katabarwa noted that passengers should not see the increase in fares as unreasonable, looking only at the fuel price which stands at Rwf888 per litre.
With the new fares also came a directive and added pressure that public transport operators in Kigali install WiFi on all buses and coasters by next month.
What operators, passengers say
Charles Ngarambe, the executive chairperson of Kigali Bus Services (KBS), said the new tariff is fair, saying the current fares had been wrongly calculated.
Anita Mukamusoni, the executive secretary of RFTC, said the new fares have been well calculated, considering the operational costs and the financial capacities of passengers.
“We will now make profits on the new fares as opposed to the loss we have been incurring although I am worried of our customers who may shun the new fares to opt for other transport means,” said Deo Mazimpaka, the chairperson of Gasabo union of cabdrivers’ cooperatives.
However, Médiatrice Uwase, a regular taxi user in Nyarugenge District, said she will keep using taxis despite a drastic increase of the fares.
Passengers interviewed by The New Times said it is unreasonable to increase public transport fares while fuel prices have been on decrease since last year.
“We will pay because we have no other option. The increase may sound little but when calculated against the number of kilometres covered, especially those that commute several times daily, then it is much,” said Venuste Ndahiro, a regular commuter on Kimironko-Nyabugogo route.