10 January 2014

Rwanda: Public Transport - It's About Time Service Providers Are Held Accountable

When the City of Kigali awarded the tender for public transport in the capital to only three companies last year, most people expressed misgivings.

Many city commuters looked unconvinced that the three firms - Kigali Bus Service, Royal Express and the Rwanda Federation of Transport Co-operatives - would provide the quality services they and city authorities promised under the new public transport arrangement.

Several months down the road, the same problems that characterised the previous arrangement, such as keeping commuters waiting for long hours and overloading, still persist.

In some cases, the situation has actually worsened.

One would expect the operators to try and improve operations with time. But it looks city commuters will have to wait much longer to get the sort of transport CoK authorities promised at the launch of this system last October.

It is inexplicable that commuters are sometimes made to wait for more than 30 minutes in many suburbs across the city and in downtown Kigali, as well as along the main routes, yet the public had been assured that the new arrangement would eliminate the glaring inefficiencies in public transport.

With the current state of affairs one wonders why we had to sacrifice free market in favour of oligopoly yet the service providers lacked capacity to make the much needed difference in the first place!

It's about time officials at City Hall demanded accountability from the three firms for the good of the public.

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