Rwanda: Commuters from the interior of the country denounce the mediocrity of transport services
Marie Claudine, a resident of Gasabo district, recently had to jump through hoops to get a bus ticket to attend an emergency at her home in Gisenyi.
“It was around 6 p.m., and I went to the Nyabugogo bus park to book a ticket. I tried three transport companies and couldn’t get a ticket. It was frustrating, especially since I had to travel urgently,” she said.
Although she later managed to travel, Claudine, like many other backcountry commuters, reports various challenges that hamper transportation services.
Problems in the public transportation system continued to prevail despite the projected strategies such as construction of public bus lanes, increasing the number of passenger buses, among others.
Peter Munyemana, a resident of Muhanga district working in Kigali, said the biggest challenge is the delay in transportation.
“You can’t miss taking a bus, but it takes much longer than before and of course that affects us. Because sometimes you even leave work early because you don’t want to miss a bus, which affects our work,” he said.
Limited means of transport
According to Claude Uwizeye, ticket agent at Volcano Express, transport and bus operations have changed mainly due to the limited number of buses.
“There is a shortage of buses in the park. In fact, last week it was worse; people slept in the park to ensure they at least left with the first bus traveling early in the morning. “
Bus operators, on the other hand, complain of losses due to current transport challenges.
January Muhoza, an employee of Fidelity Express, said bus operators are no longer making a profit like they used to: “Some companies, especially those that travel miles, no longer travel long distances. They travel short distances and a passenger is left halfway to board another bus, which allows them to reach their respective destinations.”
“We are selling less tickets than before, yet the passengers are still there but there is no bus to transport them. A bus can even be damaged and it takes a long time to operate. It is in this waiting time that passengers and drivers get affected,” Muhoza said.
According to Bosco Tuyishime, public relation of Horizon express, there are many factors to consider since these buses are mostly bought on credit, “these engines are bought on credit, and you pay for the insurance, the GPS, the centers bus parking, workers, among others others.
“So when you increase all the expenses and compare with the profit made by the bus, you see that people are operating in a crisis,” he said.
The president of the Rwanda Transport Cooperative Federation, Hussain Muhamad Nziza, said that the current challenges are strongly affecting travel, thus causing a crisis in public transport.
“Public commuters are victims of poor services that affect their work and daily activities,” he said.
According to Anthony Kulamba, Spokesman of Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA), the support program for public transport companies is still ongoing, although payment is sometimes delayed due to problems with the data provided, “sometimes they are not reviewed well by companies,” he said. said.
He added that there are also a number of misunderstandings between companies in terms of financial management, “but RURA will continue to brief them on how the process is going. We are working closely with the Ministry of Finance and of Economic Planning to deliver the subsidies on time.