Twenty brand new buses set to facilitate public transport in the countryside arrived in Kigali on Monday, and are set to begin operations in two weeks’ time, according to officials.
The buses belong to Rwanda Interlink Transport Company Limited (RITCO Ltd), a public-private-partnership established to mitigate public transport in rural and urban areas, following the liquidation of the public transport company, ONATRACOM last year.
RITCO is joint venture between government and Rwanda Federation of Transport Cooperatives (RFTC) in which the former has 52 per cent while the latter owns the remaining 48 per cent.
Speaking after the arrival of the 20 buses, Dodo Twahirwa, the chairperson of RFTC told The New Times that besides these, 30 other buses are still at the port of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
“These buses are here to replace those formerly operated by ONATRACOM. They are primarily here to solve transport issues especially on the upcountry routes,” Twahirwa said by phone.
In April last year, the Ministry of Infrastructure announced that the new company had placed an order for more than 150 Higer Buses from China.
The new passenger buses have capacity to carry 57 people, according to Twahirwa, adding that these are comfortable buses that will ensure passengers going to different parts of their country are taken to their destinations in comfort.
RITCO aims at becoming a regional transporter but it will initially start by serving local routes and will only expand beyond borders once all the buses that they ordered for have arrived.
Besides carrying passengers, the buses also have ample space for cargo, which was welcomed by users, especially business operators who operate in the countryside.
Speaking to The New Times, Vincent Kagenzi, a resident of Bugesera District said he is excited to hear about the new buses, saying that as business people, they had resorted to hiring private cars since most passenger vehicles do not carry luggage.
“I pay too much money to transport my merchandise from Nyanza district to Bugesera because we no longer have ONATRACOM buses that used to ply that route every Monday and Thursday,” said Kagenzi.
An audit conducted by Ernest & Young in 2012 concluded that ONATRACOM had difficulty fulfilling its socio-economic mission, due to high institutional and operating costs, as well as poor management of the institution.Follow https://twitter.com/EliseeMpirwa