FOCUS : The unending drama in the taxi business

For any business operator, avoiding loss is as important as devising means to profits. It is clear that the chances for any business to prosper, depend on its returns while losses, limit its existence and operations. It may sound strange to term it as drama when a taxi conductor tries to protect his business over a client, but a passenger made this real.   

For any business operator, avoiding loss is as important as devising means to profits. It is clear that the chances for any business to prosper, depend on its returns while losses, limit its existence and operations.
 
It may sound strange to term it as drama when a taxi conductor tries to protect his business over a client, but a passenger made this real.  

It all started when as each one had to pay Rwf 180 as fare from Kimironko to town.  

Wake-up, the conductor tells one of his passengers as he made a round-up fare collection. The gentleman could not hear him nor could the loud music make any impact or change. 

Seated next to him was a lady who managed to awake him. Unfortunately, the fellow claimed to have paid for his transport fare. 

“You have been asleep, when did you pay me?” the conductor asked. Instead, the passenger insisted he had not even received his change of Rwf 820. 

Of course it implied he claimed to have paid Rwf 1000. As the conductor became agitated, the fellow politely referred him to the lady seated next as her witness.  

“This lady bears me witness, madam didn’t you see me paying Rwf 1000?” he asked. The lady looked confused and instead looked straight into the man’s face, but remained silent.  

Sincerely, the very lady is the one who managed to awake the fellow from the deep sleep with the reason to pay his fare.    At this moment, the passenger had lost his main witness; fellow passengers had to directly intervene to settle the issue. 

Although the man was made to pay, it was hard to believe what exactly brought such confusion. Meanwhile, the conductor was confident that his client had not paid, yet he was even claiming for change.  

“This is one of the many ways we make losses in our daily operations, and go back home empty handed, after working hard the whole day,” the conductor said shortly after the passenger paid. 

Samuel is also a conductor operating with a taxi service on the Remera-Nyabugogo route and he says that like any form of responsibility, being a conductor needs intelligence and hard work.  

“We need to be intelligent too, like others trusted with other responsibilities, in order to keep our bosses in business as well as earning from it,” he said.  

He explained that profiting from taxi business is hard, but making losses for the day mainly affects the conductor.  
“Although there are different forms of paying conductors, some are paid depending on the daily earning implying that good earnings will determine good payment and the reverse is true,” he said. 

However, he explained that some passengers do not intend to cheat, but believe falsely that they have paid.  

“Although some passengers may intend not to pay for their fare, others can forget just like conductors do and ask for payment from others who have already paid,” he noted. 

He also pointed out that taxi business may operate in losses, given its mechanical state. Thus servicing of the vehicle will help avoid continuous breakdown.   

Ronald uses public means on a daily basis to get to his work place. He says confusion in making payments in taxis, can easily be curbed.  

He urges that although making payments upon entering the taxi may cause confusion, if there is a ticket issued it serves better.

“Issuing a ticket to a passenger upon making payment. may appear expensive given the costs involved in printing, but profitable in the long run,” he noted. 

He explained that the system is also important in making proper accountability unlike when there is no proof to account for the days earnings. 

“It is true that some employees or conductors are trustworthy, but it is also right that some may not be able to continue with the tradition forever,” he said.

He advises that keeping records in business is important and can be of use to taxi operators. 

“That is the reason I normally use Kigali Bus Service. Before taking a seat, one must have paid and issued with a ticket to prove payment,” he said.  

He added that although some people complain about the fare of KBS, it is worth, based on the quality of services offered.  

KBS charges Rwf 200 at every stop of which the ticket remains valid for an hour, while Rwf 500 ticket is valid for the whole day.

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