Rwanda: Taxi Motos Remain Part of Kigali's Long-Term Transport Plan - RURA

12 December 2019

Kigali City will continue having a mix of transport modes regardless of how fast the city is growing, transport sector regulator, Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) has said.

This was in response to concerns that had been raised that motorcycle taxis, commonly known as Taxi Motos, would be phased out in a bid to streamline public transport.

Reports have in the recent past pointed to the possibility of phasing out Taxi Motos as one of the options that the regulator was exploring aimed at bringing about efficiency in the city public transport.

This speculation grew after RURA launched the second generation of transport - its blueprint to turn the city into a transit-oriented city and establish a complete transport system, with a sustainable transport network.

This was seen as an effort to phase out Taxi Motos from city transport operations.

However, the idea was contested by many city dwellers who see them as the most affordable alternative mode of transport, as well as those whose lives depend solely on this business.

Patrick Nyirishema, the Director-General of RURA, told The New Times that the idea was misunderstood, emphasising that neither the city authority nor the regulator intend to phase out motorcycle taxis.

"We see all modes of transport staying. Our effort is towards making them efficient, making them complementary and making sure that the mix that we have is giving the city dwellers an easy and convenient way to move in a city," he said in an exclusive interview on Thursday.

A study conducted by RURA showed that motorcycle taxis made up 60 per cent of the public transport, while 34 per cent were personal cars.

At the time, officials pointed out that it was "alarming" to see motorcycle taxis taking the largest share of urban transport despite the danger associated with them.

Nyirishema said that a deeper analysis indicated that a lot of people still use and will continue to use motorcycle transport.

"But the split between the bus and the motorcycle is approximately half, depending on the time of the day. Generally, because a single bus would take as many people as 70 may be as 70 motorcycles would take," he said.

Our objective, he added, is not to phase out one mode of transport and introduce another, because the different modes have something they bring into the mix.

Today, a motorcycle gives somebody ability to move from one place to another. This kind of transport mode reaches many parts that public buses cannot reach, reason why many passengers prefer taking them.

Nyirishema also admits that "when you take a bus you have to move to a bus stop and you have to jump to another bus stop. Those two bus stops are not necessarily where you come from or where you are going."

Under the second generation of public transport, RURA plans to push for the increase of bus routes and networks, build dedicated bus lanes, improve route planning, and introduce scheduled services.

Still, Nyirishema said, even with the expansion of the bus network it's not feasible that the city will have a bus on each and every road in Kigali.

"We still have a lot of feeder roads that don't operate there in which case people will still depend on private transport - motorcycles or taxi cabs to be able to move," he noted.

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