It has happened again. A Jaguar bus traveling from Kampala to Kigali was involved in an accident at Ntungamo on Tuesday, and many casualties were registered.
Again, because it is even tempting to say it is not unusual for Jaguar. This paper has chronicled all accidents that have happened involving Jaguar buses, and they are not few. Some level of sanity has been obtained when these buses have crossed the Ugandan border to Rwanda, because the Rwandan authorities got tough on the bus operators and demanded that they cut down their speed limit to 60km/ph, after a similar accident last year during Christmas festivities.
It is tempting to argue that an accident will occur on the road any time. But it is also true that accidents can be brought to very low levels. It is a matter of having extremely well-disciplined drivers, and also enough drivers to take over at certain points in order to handle the stress that comes with driving long distances.
These bus fleets have opened up Rwanda like no other transport, and many people can now afford to travel from as far as Nairobi to Kigali using just one bus, the Regional coach, at affordable rates. They have boosted tourism, as many tourists love traveling by road in order to get a leisurely feel of the country.
It is therefore imperative that our bus operators get strictures on modes of operation, and it should be cross-cutting. There should be no reason why Rwanda should be strict on road discipline and our neighbouring brothers fail to act in a similar manner. These are some of the things that really should not wait for more regional meetings before they get harmonized, since when there is an accident, as there was, all states lose nationals.
The Jaguar bus company has so many coaches on the road that it is possible that there is no foreigner from Uganda or Kenya who can rightly claim that they have never traveled in a Jaguar bus. It is the safety of these thousands of business supporters which should be of paramount importance, even as the owners seek profits. Let us get service with distinctive safety.