New headgear attracts debate as taxi-moto fares rise

The newly introduced smart head covers for passengers using motorcycle taxis commonly known as taxi-moto, have raised arguments between cyclists and their clients, who are expected to incur the cost of the gear. The fabric caps worn under helmets were introduced last week to ensure passengers’ hygiene.
 Controversy is brewing over who should meet the cost of the smart cover headgear offered to passengers using taxi-motos. The New Times/ File photo
Controversy is brewing over who should meet the cost of the smart cover headgear offered to passengers using taxi-motos. The New Times/ File photo

The newly introduced smart head covers for passengers using motorcycle taxis commonly known as taxi-moto, have raised arguments between cyclists and their clients, who are expected to incur the cost of the gear.

The fabric caps worn under helmets were introduced last week to ensure passengers’ hygiene.

Taxi-moto operators buy them at a cost Frw50 each, who consequently pass on the extra expense to the passengers.

However, some operators complain of passengers who refuse to accept the additional cost, after using the caps. 

“Since last week, I have been getting a hard time to convince people to pay for the headgears. The difficult ones don’t actually pay,” said Eric Nsabimana, a motorist who operates in Kacyiru, Gasabo District.

Medard Nshimiyimana, a freelance photographer, who does many rounds a day says he is not willing to for the smart covers after every trip.

“Some of us ride on motorcycles about ten times a day, and that increases the transport by Frw 500. That is not good news.”

Bruno Rangira, the Kigali City spokesperson, explained to The New Times that passengers should expect to pay for head gears after using them.

“The city directs every motorcycle operator to offer the smart cover to their passengers, which are bought at the minimum possible amount of Rwf 50. Passengers should then think about compensation on the service delivered.”

He adds, “However, negotiation between the two can work at some point, especially when the passenger has no money.”

The new Traffic Police Chief, Celestin Twahirwa asserts that smart head covers are compulsory for all motorcycle passengers.

“People should be informed that wearing those caps is compulsory on all rides. We are still in the sensitisation process, but in the near future, the defiant motorcyclists will be punished accordingly.”

Meanwhile, Theos Badege, the Police Spokesman also assured The New Times that they would soon meet all stakeholders to sensitize about the advantages of the gear  to both the cyclists and passengers.

In a related development, Rwanda Bureau of Standard’s Phillip Nzaire dispelled looming fears that the smart head covers are environmentally hazardous.

“They are natural fabrics and can decompose when disposed.”

Ends

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