The Rwanda Utility Regulatory Authority (Rura) and the City of Kigali have awarded three firms, including a cooperative, the deal to operate public transport in the city.
The firms that won the five-year transport deal; Kigali Bus Service (KBS), Rwanda Federation of Transport Cooperative (RFTC), and Royal Express, were announced yesterday.
It is hoped that this will streamline public transport in line with the Cabinet decision of October 2012 on public transport in Rwanda.
Each of the three firms will operate in designated areas of the four zones identified in the City of Kigali road network.
Road network zones
The zones include Zone I covering Kabuga-Mulindi-Remera-Kanombe to be plied by KBS; Zone II, which covers Kicukiro-Sonatubes-Niboye-Nyanza-Bwerankoli-Gikondo-Nyenyeli and Gikondo-Segem, was allocated to Royal Express; while RFTC, formerly Atraco, won tender for the other two zones.
RFTC will ensure transport in the biggest zone III that covers Kimironko-Kinamba-Gisozi- Nyabugogo-Batsinda and intra roads.
It will also operate in the fourth zone, which covers Gakinjiro-Stade Nyamirambo-Nyakabanda-Nyacyonga-Nyarugunga-Karuruma-Jabana-Nduba and other intra zone roads.
“We are not excluding mini-buses as many people speculated in the past, rather, we have made an inclusive system, with all the city corners covered,” said City mayor Fidele Ndayisaba.
He added that the mini-buses will be still needed to cover the routes with relatively few passengers within a specified zone.
Some routes such as Kacyiru-Maman Sportif, RDB INILAK-Shell, Kuri Mirongo ine-Rugunga, among others, have been allocated mini-buses better known as Twegerane, which will be picking passengers and dropping them off the main roads.
Ndayisaba cited reduction of time wastage as the main objective of the new system.
“The new system has come to solve the problem city residents have been facing in accessing public transport and it will ease movement in Kigali,” he said.
“This system will encourage the use of modern, smart and bigger buses appropriate for public transport on busy roads in the City of Kigali.”
The mayor said the companies agreed to bring many and good quality buses, according to the specifications so as to ensure that no passenger spends more than five minutes at a bus stop.
They also agreed to put in place a strong inspection team to avoid issues of abuse by drivers and/or passengers.
Under the new arrangement, it is mandatory for public transport buses to work from 5am to 11pm.
“If we know there are passengers in a certain place, we can even decide to work 24 hours,” said Col. Dodo Twahirwa, the president of RFTC, affirming their commitment to improving transport service in the city.
Asked whether the move had not left out many prospective individual investors in public transport business, Rura Director-General Regis Gatarayiha said it is meant to ensure proper regulation.
“This new strategy is in line with the new public transport policy approved by Cabinet last year and it will put in place a clear and favourable regulatory framework that encourages investment in public transport as a lucrative sector in the City of Kigali,” Gatarayiha said.
Charles Ngarambe, the executive chairperson of KBS, said they were ready to work with other companies left out because they still need quite many buses.
Statistics from the city indicate there are an estimated 200,000 passengers in Kigali daily.
The City has 800 mini-buses with capacity to carry 18 passengers, 250 mini buses carrying between 25 to 30 passengers, and 40 buses.
Control of quality
Gatarayiha and the City of Kigality officials appealed to Police and passengers to help monitor the compliance of the transport companies.
Companies have until August 30 to complete recruitment of drivers, paint their buses and set up a technical team to oversee the exercise.
Contracts will be signed soon, officials said.