Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) has on Monday, May 25 refuted rumors of an alleged plan to modify taxi-motos by setting up a board that separates passengers from their riders.
This follows the circulation of photos on social media showing some motorcycles that had been fitted with boards, which raised assumptions that this would be a condition for operators before they are opened for business next week.
Passenger service taxi motos have been out of service since March as part of the ongoing strategies adopted by government to stop the spread of coronavirus, COVID-19.
They are supposed to return into business next week on June 1, according to a directive announced last week by Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente.
Speaking to The New Times, Anthony Kulamba, the Director of Transport Division at the regulator refuted the rumors, noting that RURA didn't authorize this modification.
He said: "We also saw photos of those motorbikes circulating on social media, but we want to let the public know that we are not the ones who ordered the modification and we do not even know those behind the initiative."
He added that: "When such innovations are to be introduced, we first sit together as regulators and manufacturers to see whether they are suitable for everyone and that they will not cause any harm to the public. Now that we did not hold any talks with manufacturers, we do not expect them to function."
Kulamba also highlighted that the innovation has some loopholes.
"As many people reiterated on social media, the innovation would not be suitable because a passenger would not be able to see where he or she is being driven to."
According to Kulamba, the regulatory body is soon issuing new guidelines that will govern regular moto services that shall resume on June 1 after more than two months without operating.
According to Daniel Ngarambe, President of Ferwacotamo, a federation of motorcycle cooperatives, one of the main priorities being discussed is to make cashless payments mandatory so as to avoid any spread of Coronavirus that may arise from exchanging cash.
"We are discussing with RURA, motorcyclists and our partners to see how cashless payments can be further enforced and possibly made mandatory so that we prevent any spread of this pandemic," he said.
Currently, motorcycles are only allowed to carry merchandise.