Public transport operators in Kigali City have decried the lack of enough parking space in the city centre, describing it as a major setback in their business.
A number of drivers, who spoke to The New Times, said that they are forced to park their vehicles far due to lack of enough space in their designated parking yards.
Olivier Tuyisenge, a driver operating along the Kimironko-city centre route, lamented that the designated parking lot along the street leading to Kigali Central Prison, next to the former Housing Bank offices, is inadequate for the scores of vehicles that commute along the route.
“This place is too small to accommodate all public vehicles operating in Kigali. Sometimes we are forced to park somewhere else to wait for others to give way,” he said.
“It is frustrating; especially during peak hours when there are many passengers. Authorities should help us and provide us with sufficient space,” another driver, Charles Murara, who plies Nyenyeri route observed.
Earlier this year, Kigali City relocated all public vehicles to Muhima and Nyabugogo bus terminal to help “decongest the city centre.”
“This place is risky because vehicles are operating alongside the road,” a passenger travelling to Remera, who declined to identify herself, said.
Currently, there are over 2,000 public commuter vehicles operating in Kigali.
In August, last year, a local businessman, Sekoko Hatari, launched a commercial project worth US$200m, which would also include a bus terminal of international standards.
The project to be established at the former Kigali Central Police Station in Muhima, was supposed to have the terminal completed within three months.
However, the project met technical hitches with barely any progress a year later.
In January, the city announced that the completion of the terminal would be delayed for other three months, citing the need to first expropriate residents and businesses within the project’s designated boundaries after a change in design, which, according to the city, hampered the project.
It was later announced that the terminal, which is scheduled to accommodate over 500 vehicles, would be operational, by this month, but nothing has yet been done.
Last month, the terminal proprietors contracted NPD Contraco to construct roads and drainage systems, tarmac, the terminal and build retaining walls.
The project, which will also include a shopping mall, hotel and hospital, is a joint venture between Hatari and Ugandan tycoon, Sudhir Ruparelia and his wife Joystina.
Speaking to The New Times, Bruno Rangira, the Director of Communication in the City, said that the terminal will be completed within six months.
Emmanuel Muhoza, an engineer in NPD Contraco said: “We started by surveying road limits, topography of the land and demarcating places where other roads will pass. If nothing changes, we will be through within the specified time,” Muhoza explained.
He noted that some houses where roads would pass have been earmarked for demolition.
“These buildings have asbestos fibre materials which can be dangerous if we use bulldozers to raze them down. We are looking for experts to remove such materials and also to give time to the occupants to vacate the facilities,” Muhoza added.