Bus companies should consider mergers

Kigali city is transforming from a spontaneously growing urban setting to a more organised city thanks to the city’s master plan, which is gradually becoming a reality. Many who have had a chance to look at the Kigali Master Plan either on paper or in its 3Dformat will testify that it seems too good to be true.

Kigali city is transforming from a spontaneously growing urban setting to a more organised city thanks to the city’s master plan, which is gradually becoming a reality.

Many who have had a chance to look at the Kigali Master Plan either on paper or in its 3Dformat will testify that it seems too good to be true.

However, it appears that the plan is taking shape faster than some had anticipated.

In such a situation, the forward thinking and planning should not be left to the policy makers at Kigali City Council alone. Anyone in business or simply living in the city should take time to think about how things are definitely going to change and see what they can do so that they can be part of that change instead of being the one to give way to the change.

The recent directive requiring companies operating public transport buses to relocate their offices from the city centre to the outskirts got me thinking about the future of these companies. It is true that their operations in the city centre have long been an inconvenience to many often creating instant traffic jams. A bus turning to park would end up holding traffic and thus clogging the near by roads.

It would really be unfair for any of the bus operators to feign ignorance of this development. Their businesses have been growing while at the same time the city was growing. At some point one had to give way for the other and definitely it had to be the buses.

The idea of them finding offices outside the city centre is not the only thing they should worry about. It is high time many of them thought about merging to create bigger business entities so as to benefit from the economies of scale that come with such arrangements.

Already, some of these companies have offices outside the city centre but others do not have mainly because they are relatively small and cannot afford this luxury. In such a situation the smaller companies need to think of joining with others.

Merging is not aimed at just solving the problem of offices but also giving the customers a better deal. For example, some companies do not buses going to certain regions of Rwanda yet their loyal clients sometimes travel to these places and would love to enjoy the same service.

Already airline companies have been using this business model where they sign agreements with each other so that they can extend their reach. Where RwandAir does not go, it will link with another air company so that its passengers can continue their journeys with less of a hustle.

I think it would be better to have fewer bus companies but with better management systems and a larger fleet of buses that ply routes covering the width of the country.

Right now the companies are so many leaving us with a fragmented industry whose effectiveness is still lacking.

We need bigger buses and more computerisation of services so as to stay compliant with the Kigali Master Plan and the country’s Vision 2020 plans.

ssenyonga@gmail.com

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