Kigali like other cities comes to life at night, people who don’t go out at night don’t know about Kigali night life.
They can believe that there isn’t much going on after the sun goes down, but a big number of fun-loving folk hit the ‘happening joints’ to have fun and shake-off the day’s work every night.
But there are those who strike the dark looking for cash, like people in the transport business like the cab and taxi-moto drivers. These people play a big role in making Kigali’s night life accessible.
“You don’t have to be rich to glide around Kigali at night. People think special- hire taxis are reserved for the rich, but that’s not true. If you can afford a bottle of beer, you can afford a special hire taxi, motos too, are always there to pick you from your door step to the club or bar at very friendly prices”, said Mich Karengera, a small bar owner in Kimironko.
A cabbie’s experience
Twenty six-year-old Ruzibiza Bebe, is a well-known special hire taxi driver in Kigali. His favorite money-making–spot is at KBC (Kigali Business Centre), Kimihurura. He shares his experience.
“I’ve been in this business for more than 11 years. Being a night cab driver can be a precarious profession; working at night and into the early hours of the morning, presents us with all sorts of awful dangers and drama,” he said.
Unlike other passenger taxis, cab-drivers are lone sharks, in case of trouble; they have no one to defend them. Thugs know that they always have money and this puts them in danger. Criminals, drunks, violent and abusive passengers are a cab drivers ordeal.
Through the years, Bebe has learnt that cab-drivers must maintain self-control and be selective of their passengers.
“If I come across passengers who spell trouble, I don’t take them. Sometimes the attitude of the driver makes a difference, a lot of patience is needed in our job,” Bebe said.
Going out of his way
“My sister once forgot her laptop, a phone and a wallet in a cab, we were surprised when the following day, the taxi man used her phone to call her and meet him to pick her property! They met and he returned all her stuff, since that day, I have nothing but respect for the cabbies,” said Josh a gentleman in his late thirties.
Like any other business, customer care is very essential in doing this service, a good taxi man must know how to handle his customers, he must be respectful, social and friendly, he should have a geographical knowledge of the city and a sense of direction, should be calm in instance of traffic, knowing the shortest and cheapest routes is also vital. His cab should be sparkling clean.
Cab drivers should avoid talking on the phone since it makes passengers feel unsafe.
The amazing Taxi-motos
Another means of transport we can’t ignore is the ‘Taxi-Moto.’ During the un-holy hours of the night, most people agree that motos are the fastest way to get home.
“I never appreciated them, untill I visited neighbouring countries where protection helmets are unheard of, a bike is projected to carry more than three passengers at ago.
'Our bike guys’ are doing a great service,” said Justine Uwayezu, a bar attendant at Nu Vision Bar, opposite the stadium.
Moto-taxis are always there when you need them, without them, night-transport would be impossible for the average Rwandan with out car.