Ongoing efforts promising to address Kigali public transport woes

By Esther Muhozi
On 19 January 2024 at 02:39

In the National Dialogue Council convened from February 18 to 27, 2023, the Government pledged to address longstanding issues in Kigali City’s public transportation. The commitment involved introducing more than 300 passenger cars as part of a comprehensive plan aimed at tackling extended waiting times and delayed arrivals at destinations.

To fulfill this promise, public transport companies utilized government funding to procure approximately 200 vehicles, initially manufactured by the Chinese Yutong factory, boasting advanced features and technology.

Despite the substantial cost of over Rwf150 million per car, government support ensured a reduced price of just under Rwf120 million. These 10-meter-long vehicles, capable of carrying more than 70 passengers, incorporate cutting-edge elements like cameras for monitoring passengers, aiding those with visual impairments, and amenities such as charging plugs for mobile phones.

RITCO Public Transport Company, granted permission to transport passengers throughout Kigali, seized the opportunity to acquire 40 vehicles. RITCO’s expanded fleet, now totaling 195 vehicles, positions the company to serve various parts of the country, as well as nearly every corner of Kigali.

The Prime Minister-approved decision to allow any car owner to transport passengers, in collaboration with RITCO, significantly eased the burden of commuting.

RITCO’s Managing Director, Nkusi Godfrey, emphasized the removal of restricted zones, enabling cars to transport passengers freely. The increased flexibility has led to RITCO establishing a presence in multiple directions, contributing to the resolution of travel challenges.

Nkusi Godfrey expressed optimism about the positive impact of these changes, stating, "A prosperous city must rely on an efficient transportation system."

He highlighted the company’s plan to enhance the passenger experience by introducing amenities such as screens and free computers, aiming to instill confidence in bus services.

With the newfound freedom for car owners to transport passengers, RITCO has experienced a surge in passenger numbers and revenue. The company, currently boasting 720 employees, caters to approximately 800,000 passengers daily, with the potential to reach a million if trends persist.

Looking ahead, RITCO envisions leveraging technology to further enhance transportation. Plans include acquiring longer buses to accommodate more passengers, with a prototype of a 16-meter vehicle expected in the near future. Nkusi Godfrey even hinted at the possibility of introducing vehicles akin to trains in the coming years.

RITCO Public Transport Company, granted permission to transport passengers throughout Kigali has acquired 40 new buses.