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Rwanda To Unveil Public Bus Service That Entirely Relies On Technology

[PHOTO/ COURTESY]

Residents in Kigali Rwanda will not have to leave office or their homes to the bus stop to wait for public transport vehicles that they are uncertain of, following the development of new bus service that relies on technology.

In the new bus service to be launched next year dubbed Generation 2, passengers will be able to know which bus stop is the closest, the time the bus arrives, and the route that the bus operates.

“We are working with partners who are developing apps that will give people information. For example you will be able to know that the bus I need will arrive in next ten minutes,” Eng. Emmanuel Asaba Katabarwa, the Head of Transport Department at Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) as quoted by the New Times, a local publication in the country.

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The new system will have information such as arrival times and routes displayed on websites of RURA and other institutions to enhance efficiency.

The system could also have a Dedicated Bus Lanes  for only public transport vehicles, similar to Kenya’s failed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, to discourage the use of private cars which cause congestion.

“There is a plan to set apart one lane for the public buses so that the normal cars have one lane, and the buses have one lane,” Katabarwa said.

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Using data from the automated fare collection system, the routes in the city have been divided into: primary, secondary and tertiary routes basing on the number of passengers.

Primary routes (the most frequented routes) will be only operated by big buses and will have a waiting time of only five minutes or less. Small buses like Toyota Coasters will not be allowed here.

Secondary routes’ waiting time will increase to about ten minutes. These can be operated by Coasters, just as tertiary routes.

The system will also use intelligent service monitoring systems (particularly GPS) to track vehicle activity and performance, and action called for in real time where necessary.

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“This time we are using ICT to be able to control the drivers. By using GPS, we will see the activities of the buses, and see which one is delaying, and call them to ask them why they are delaying the passengers,” he said.

The country hopes that the new system will sanitize public transport where there will be ease of movement, increased profits for operators and reduced cost for passengers.

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Written by Francis Muli

Follow me on Twitter @francismuli_. Email francis@kahawatungu.com

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