Why were there no consultations on the new city public transport system?

Editor,I wish to respond to the story, “Kigali short of 200 public buses” in The New Times issue of September 5.
Passengers line up to board a bus.  Net photo.
Passengers line up to board a bus. Net photo.

Editor,

I wish to respond to the story, “Kigali short of 200 public buses” in The New Times issue of September 5.

If the decision by Rura and the City of Kigali (to launch a new public transport system) was in the interest of the public, instead of those businessmen (whom I suspect won tenders because they share the profits with the afore-mentioned institutions’ bosses), then the common Twegerane taxis should not have been swept away from the streets – but made to complement those transport companies. 

How can you explain to the public how in the world you say you want to resolve the transport problems for good, while undermining the efforts of Rwandans to work harder for the better future of their country and families?

It’s clear that the buses are insufficient, and then Rura (Rwanda Utility Regulatory Agency) defends this instead of bringing back Twegeranes so that they work together with coasters for the good of the people of Rwanda.

Of course, those big bosses don’t get toasted on the hot sun waiting for a taxi, their little girls don’t spend hours on the stage in the evening from school waiting for transport and being hunted by lurking sugar daddies, they don’t feel the kind of frustrations we get every time we are forced to spend more on taxi-motos because coasters are nowhere to be seen.

I have an advice for Rura and the City of Kigali: if you’re doing something like this next time, please consult the public first. There is a myriad of social networks and other platforms that you can use to collect views from the public. You could have a programme on different radio stations across the country for the sake of giving respect and dignity to the public whom you’re in the offices to serve.

Don’t argue with the people, but find ways to serve them better. We know very well that there’s something wrong in the new public transport system, but Rura and City of Kigali have chosen to ignore these concerns.

Gatete Rumanzi, Kigali

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Well, I am not pessimistic about the move but it was rushed given the purchasing power of Rwandans but the high demand for transport. Surely, the City of Kigali must prepare itself to solve some conflicts that may arise among the three contracted operators.

Secondly, as an advocate for consumers’ rights, I consider the move to allow only three operators as anti-competition. This indeed kills the entrepreneurship spirit in case another investor would like to adventure into the sector before the contract with awarded operators (five years) is not yet expired.

It is good that the City of Kigali is concerned with resolving the various transport related issues within the city, but we need more strategic plans, not short-term actions.

We need to discuss those long-term plans to enable more private actors to come in.

Innocent Hitayezu, Kigali

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This is clear evidence that the people who came up with this arrangement did not do due diligence. How do you award a contract to a company before you establishing if it has enough buses to serve a particular zone?

And if indeed you want to phase out the Twegeranes, why not give a tax incentive to those importing the bigger buses and stop the importation of the small and uncomfortable twegeranes?

The mayor said that with the new arrangement, we shall have buses operate from 5a.m to 11p.m. Yet at such times, there are hardly passengers on the road.

I think the best solution is to let market forces rule instead of this restrictive arrangement. I am disappointed with the way government is handling something that can handle itself if left to market forces.

Bosco Gasirikare, Kigali

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