Rwanda Regulatory Utility Agency (RURA) has cautioned motorcycle taxi (Taxi moto) operators against charging passengers extra fare or increasing transport costs on the pretext of bridging the cost of the smart head covers.
The headgear, which is used by taxi-moto passengers for hygienic reasons costs Rwf 50. However, they have attracted mixed reactions and courted controversy, not only due to the associated cost deemed to be high, but also the party to incur it.
Operators are accused of hiking fares to cover the cost of the smart headgear.
Addressing the media, the regulator’s Director General, Regis Gatarayiha, said that although the headgear may be costly, it is illegal to impose or increase transport costs.
“We have met with other stakeholders, including heads of taxi-moto association and decided that the use of the head gears be maintained as investigations to establish the appropriate cost continue,” Gatarayiha said.
He explained that according to the resolutions from consultative meetings, the cost of smart head covers should not impact or bring an increase in transport costs.
“Although the cost may be high, appropriate channels must be followed to ensure that passengers are not cheated,” he said.
According to him, stakeholders are working around the clock to identify and establish a favourable cost of the headgear.
Most of the operators interviewed by The New Times insisted that the Rwf 50 is too high for the fabric that is used only once.
“We are incurring costs which are not being refunded by our clients. This makes our work more difficult because we are not earning from these expenses,” said Alex Mutabazi, a motorcycle taxi operator at Kisementi shopping centre.
Meanwhile, Alice Mukamugeni, who says she uses motorcycles daily, urged authorities to ensure that smart head covers serve the rightful purpose, slamming some operators for offering passengers used head covers.