New public transport system should address pressing issues

On Monday, the City of Kigali (Cok) and the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (Rura) unveiled three firms that won tenders to provide public transport services on different city routes. Come August 30, the new companies will start plying the allocated routes (divided into four zones).

On Monday, the City of Kigali (Cok) and the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (Rura) unveiled three firms that won tenders to provide public transport services on different city routes. Come August 30, the new companies will start plying the allocated routes (divided into four zones).

According to officials from the two bodies, the development will streamline and change the ‘face’ of public transport in the city, as well as ensuring proper monitoring of providers.

This move should be supported by well-meaning city dwellers. It is always disheartening to see passengers in queues waiting for taxis, especially in the evenings and early morning in some places like Kanombe, Kimironko, City centre and Nyabugogo. Hopefully this will be a thing of the past effective August 30, going forward. City commuters deserve better.

However, city authorities and Rura should beware not to entrench monopolies and push small operators out of business as it tries to ensure better services. After all this Rwanda is a free market economy and so city officials should promote equal opportunities for all residents and investors.

Also, how will three operators render satisfactory services when they are part of the current arrangement that is providing poor services? Passengers need to be sure of what to expect. If it is modern, smart and bigger buses, that’s what passengers should find on the roads on August 30, not the same old taxis with unkempt and unprofessional drivers and conductors. 

As the city moves to ensure commuters get the best, let it support all sector stakeholders, especially those that might lose in one way or another as a result of these changes. Let the city not ‘devour’ its children. For those who lost out on the jobs, it is good to work with the authority for the betterment of the sector. Besides, tomorrow brings a new promise. 

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