Proposed traffic shift hangs in balance

Rwanda may not switch to driving on the left anytime soon, despite a survey which indicated, last year, that many Rwandans preferred abandoning the right-hand traffic system.
TAKING STEPS;Vincent Karega (File Photo)
TAKING STEPS;Vincent Karega (File Photo)

Rwanda may not switch to driving on the left anytime soon, despite a survey which indicated, last year, that many Rwandans preferred abandoning the right-hand traffic system.

Speaking to The New Times, yesterday, the Minister of Infrastructure, Vincent Karega, said that the proposed shift may not be cost effective.

A survey conducted last year by a team of consultants, and commissioned by the Ministry of Infrastructure, indicated that 52 percent of the people interviewed favoured the switch to left, while 32 percent preferred to maintain the current system.

“In a recent discussion with the Prime Minister and the consultants over the issue, the proposal was rejected on the grounds that it does not indicate any clear benefits (of the shift) to the country,” he said.

“However, the meeting requested that the idea be reviewed so that outstanding concerns are addressed.”  He said that the review exercise will take three months.

Karega explained that, although the switch to left hand drive could reduce the shortage of passenger service vehicles, the reasons behind the proposal were not convincing enough.

Experts argue that a switch could solve the shortage of Passenger Service Vehicles (PSV), which is attributed to the high cost of right hand drive vehicles.

However, according to the study, the shift could result in the government losing 16 percent of the vehicle import tax revenue.

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