KIGALI - The current public transport crisis, especially on upcountry routes, will soon be history as the government and transport company owners have resolved to address the issue with immediate solutions.
The mayor of Kigali City Dr. Aisa Kirabo said yesterday that the government has come up with solutions to address the issue. She said that buses will be purchased soon to ease the means of transport countrywide.
She was speaking at a press conference held at her office after the launch of Kigali City Public Accountability Day.
The Rwanda Utility and Regulatory Authority (RURA) will meet with transport company owners, Kigali City Council (KCC) and government representatives on January 29 to review transport fares and solve the persistent problem.
The vice mayor in charge of Finance and Economic Development Dieudonnee Rumaragishika said that currently the leading transport company- ATRACO- has over 850 minibuses, 15 coasters and two big buses. The government owned transport company, ONATRACOM, has 22 buses (each taking 60 passengers) while other transport companies have 22 coasters altogether, Rumaragishika said.
He explained: “Most of these buses operated within Kigali city and we intend to double them and reduce the transport problems.
“ATRACO has promised to import more 100 big buses each accommodating about 80 passengers and ONATRACOM will also import more 25 buses of the same capacity.”
He added that more taxi parks will be constructed this year. The Kimironko Taxi Park will be opened soon, he said.
He said that the construction of Kicukiro Taxi Park will start soon while plans to renovate and upgrade Nyabugogo Taxi Park are underway.
“We also intend to construct a taxi park on the outskirts of Kigali that will accommodate buses from upcountry,” he added. The City Council, he said, is still looking for a strategic location to build the main taxi park. That park has to be located in the middle of the city, he said.
The Director of the Association for Transport Companies (ATRACO) retired Colonel Dodo Twahirwa said the cause of the current crisis is a result of increased commuters while the number of vehicles isn’t increasing.
He stressed that currently the transport fares don’t match the cost of fuel, and it is one of the reasons why there has been scarcity of vehicles. “The standard taxi fare within Kigali city is Frw150 which was fixed when fuel was costing around Frw 460 per litre but now the price has gone up to over Frw 677 and that charge per passenger is still the same which is frustrating both the taxi drivers and the transport companies,” Twahirwa said.
He said that the scheduled January 29 meeting between RURA, transport company owners, Kigali City Council (KCC) and government representatives will find and lay out solutions to the persisting problem.
Public transport within Kigali is mainly by taxi minibus coasters and buses, with a number of different routes connecting the major suburbs of Nyabugogo, Kacyiru, Kimironko, Gikondo Nyenyeri, Kicukiro, Kimisagara, Gatsata, Nyamirambo, Gisozi, Kabuga, Kabeza and Remera.
The transport companies within the country include Atraco Express, Tebuka, ONATRACOM, Virunga Express and Volcanoes Express among others.