The new public-private partnership venture in public transport could be flagged off in days to come after the firm that has metamorphosed from the defunct Onatracom started shipping in buses.
Rwanda Interlink Transport Company Limited (RITCO Ltd), yesterday, delivered 20 new buses to facilitate public transport in the countryside, ahead of operations in two weeks, according to officials.
RITCO is a public-private-partnership established as one of the ways to fix gaps in public transport in rural and urban areas following the liquidation of Onatracom last year.
RITCO is a joint venture between the Government and Rwanda Federation of Transport Cooperatives (RFTC), with the latter owning 48 per cent stake in the venture.
Speaking after the arrival of the buses, Dodo Twahirwa, the chairperson of RFTC, told The New Times that 30 more are at the Port of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, awaiting transit to Kigali.
“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.
In April, last year, the Ministry of Infrastructure announced that the new company had placed an order for more than 150 buses from China.
The new buses have capacity to carry 57 passengers each, according to Twahirwa, adding that these are comfortable buses that will ensure passengers going to different parts of the 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, he said.
Besides passengers, the buses also have ample space for cargo, which was welcomed by users, especially business operators.
Speaking to The New Times, Vincent Kagenzi, from Bugesera District, said he was excited to hear about the new buses, saying as a businessperson, he had resorted to hiring private cars since most passenger vehicles do not carry luggage.
“I spend a lot 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.