EFFECTIVE from today, the government has scrapped the increase of taxi fares and immediately ordered operators to restore the initial fare of Rwf 180 around the city from the Rwf230 which commuters have been paying during rush hour.
According to the Minister of Infrastructure Vincent Karega, the increase announced by Rwanda Utility Regulatory Agency (RURA) last week were aimed at giving operators a financial incentive and at the same time reduce congestion during the rush hour, but the move has not paid off.
“In order to solve the congestion problem at Rubangura Taxi Park, the government increased transport fares during rush hours as a financial incentive for operators in order to solve the problem of congestion and also ensure the safety of commuters.
“You would find that taxis were reluctant to make several trips during the peak hours because on the return trip, they would come back almost empty. So we said we should increase the fares to cover up on the losses incurred on the return trip,” Karega told The New Times.
However, he added that the hike had not solved the problem of congestion and instead operators took advantage to exploit passengers, hence the need for the government to scrap the new fares immediately.
“Effective from today, operators will be requested to restore the old fares and the government will instead move in to resolve the issue of congestion by bringing in Onatracom buses during evening hours to ferry home as many people as possible,” Karega said.
He added that the government owned Onatracom buses will be brought in to solve the issue of shortage of commuter buses. Karega said that congestion in the evening is an problem which the government wants to address urgently.
This means that passengers will not be paying the extra Rwf50 that had been added for most of the routes in the city during rush hour (5:00PM - 8:00AM the following morning).
From Nyamirambo to the city centre, commuters will be paying the old fare of Rwf150 instead of 200 while upcountry fares remain unchanged.