City transporters ordered to stick to designated routes

Public transport operators in the City of Kigali have been directed to stick to their routes, as firms that won the five-year transport deal work to replenish their fleet.
A taxi leaves Remera park recently. The new public transport system requires operators to have a spacing of five minutes during peak hours. The New Times/File
A taxi leaves Remera park recently. The new public transport system requires operators to have a spacing of five minutes during peak hours. The New Times/File

Public transport operators in the City of Kigali have been directed to stick to their routes, as firms that won the five-year transport deal work to replenish their fleet.

The directive comes after inspectors monitoring the operations of the transport firms published a report indicating that the new transport plan is not being followed.

The monitors examined whether transporters were conforming to regulations after the Rwanda Utility Regulatory Authority (RURA) and the City of Kigali awarded three firms, a tender requiring each to operate in designated areas of the four identified zones of Kigali road network. 

The firms include Kigali Bus Service (KBS), Rwanda Federation of Transport Cooperative (RFTC) and Royal Express. 

“We have realised that at some point they are ignoring new routes within zones, or combining two routes; we agreed they have to fix this,” Jean Claude Rurangwa, the in-charge of public transport and safety management in the City of Kigali said after an assessment meeting on Tuesday. 

The monitors also identified that transporters have a tendency of merging two routes into one like combining Kanombe-Giporoso and Kanombe-city hub.

It was also found out that passengers have been queuing for more than the recommended time especially during rush hours. 

The new public transport regulation requires operators to have a spacing of five minutes during peak hours and a spacing of 15 minutes between each bus during off peak hours. In addition, some drivers were found to be deviating from the recommended routes, leaving passengers stranded.

Nilla Muneza, the president of Royal Express that works in the zone linking the city/Nyabugogo to Kicukiro and its suburbs admitted that some of their drivers are failing to stick to the recommended routes. 

“We are suspending some drivers that we had hired from other companies as part of integrating them; they are ignoring our contract terms,” disclosed Muneza.       “You may send a driver to Kicukiro centre but he instead deviates to another route or just refuses; this cannot be tolerated.”

However, it is understood that some taxi drivers abandon the routes with few passengers. These include intra and inter zone routes which consist of routes in neighbourhoods that link to the main roads. For instance roads linking Gishushu to Kicukiro centre through INILAK and Sonatubes, or a route that links Gaculiro to Kacyiru.

It includes also routes that link the city to suburbs like Kimironko-Masizi, Kicukiro-Bwerankoli, etc.

 “We are not making any money now; we were used to Kimironko/Remera-Nyabugogo road, but the new routes  do not have passengers to make any profits,” Antoine Nkurunziza, a driver told The New Times.

But the city officials appealed to transporters to be patient, saying it’s too early to determine that a certain route does not have passengers; as they only need to get used. 

Buses still few 

The long waiting on bus stops was attributed to few buses. The city is said to be short of 200 buses to satisfy the market.

However, Rurangwa said they have received plans from the firms indicating how they intend to replenish their fleet in two months time. 

Without divulging more details, the president of RFTC, Dodo Twahirwa said they have ordered for more buses from China and Europe.

To improve discipline, thecommissioner for traffic and road safety, George Rumanzi said they are going to train drivers, conductors and company inspectors on discipline.

But the transporters meanwhile, asked the City of Kigali to install posters that indicate the buses destination to facilitate the new transport arrangement.

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