Thousands of public transport users will pay high fares after the government eased restrictions on movements.
In addition, limited number of public transport vehicles and new measures that enforce social distancing have exposed travelers to higher costs due to increased demand.
Rwanda Utility Regulation Authority (Rura) has also revised transport tariffs by 47 per cent, charges that will be passed on to travellers New tariff indicates that the fare prices in countryside have increased to Rwf30.8 per kilometer from Rwf21 per Kilometer, while in the city the fares increased to Rwf31.8 from Rwf22 per kilometer.
“Lockdown has been lifted while I was almost penniless, under the circumstances, I have decided to get the bus on my way at work and walk back home,” said Nepomscene Byumvuhore, a city dweller.
To save costs for pressing family needs, Daphrose Uwambajemariya, a mother of two, says she has decided to forfeit lunch as the transport surge. “As a tailor, who can take home around Rwf3,000, increased fares take almost a third of that.
Given the situation we have been through, some cases at home need the money,” said Uwambajemariya, a tailor in Nyabugogo. However, officials said the increased prices of transport are in the spirit of easing the losses that the transport operators could incur, as they are requested to operate below their potential capacity.
“Public buses will be operating around 50 per cent or below of their capacity because the passengers have to keep a distance, even within the busses,” said Patrick Nyirishema, director-general of Rura.
For those buses to continue offering services while operating below their capacity, the fares were to be increased,” said Nyirishema.
Adding that after resuming the normal routine, the tariffs could be revised. However, the increase of public transport fares has been simultaneously affected by the drop of petroleum products prices on the local market.
In a statement, Rura said effective May 4, a litre of petrol will cost Rwf967, down from Rwf1,088. Diesel will now cost Rwf923, down from Rwf1,073.
The regulatory body attributed the latest drop in prices to the cost of petroleum products to the international market. According to Rura, under the current transport arrangements, fares have not skyrocketed due to drop in fuel prices.