Lessons Kenya can learn from Rwanda on how to fix public transport

Tuesday November 13 2018

Commuter buses in Kigali, Rwanda. Public transport routes in Kigali are served by four operators while over 50 other licensed operators are allocated to national roads. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA | NMG


Rwanda’s efforts to fix public transport has seen the regulator compel operators to deploy high-capacity fleets on busy city and national routes.

The conditions, which are part of the ongoing reforms since 2013, have seen more than 60 public transport providers allocated specific routes under a contract.

The terms range from ending passenger queues and waiting time at bus stops and terminals and complying with fares set by Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (Rura).

Operators are encouraged to shift to the 32 to 60-seater bus fleet fitted with speed governors — the speed limit is 60km/hour — and are bound to respect agreed departure schedules.

The transport sector is already experiencing near complete phase-out of 14-seater minibuses.

“For us as a regulator, the bigger the buses the better. As we speak, operators brought in enough 32 to 60-seater buses that are additional to the 25 to 32 seaters that ousted the minibuses.


“What is left is work around achieving customer satisfaction by enforcing that the waiting time strictly remain in the five to 10 minutes maximum on short and truck routes respectively,” Mr Emmanuel Katabarwa, head of Rura transport department said in an earlier interview.

Public transport routes in Kigali are served by four operators while over 50 other licensed operators were allocated national roads.

Kigali City mass transport system is already implementing the automated fare payment system on buses with a drive underway to have the same apply to other modes of transport like commercial motorcycles and taxi cabs and upcountry fleet.

Authorities bank on the ongoing expansion works of Kigali's tiny roads to create dual carriage with dedicated bus lanes, which is expected to boost mass transport in the country.