Cashless transport system runs into high cost, technical hitches

Wednesday September 2 2020


Enforcement of the cashless payment system has left taxi-moto users frustrated. PHOTO | Cyril Ndegeya 

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When the cashless payment system was launched by the government, many saw it as a solution to the subsector.

However, taxi-moto users and operators in the city of Kigali are complaining of its cost and technical hitches that threaten to derail their mobility.

Since August 15, the government of Rwanda has moved to make the public transport payment system in Kigali city fully cashless. With the intelligent meter fitted in every single taxi-moto, the passengers are now forced to pay in regards to the distance covered, without haggling with their drivers as it used to be.

However, two-wheel users say that the fares have gone up.

“Getting taxi-moto is now the last resort I consider because its fares here in Kigali have intensively gone up. On the distance that I used to pay Rwf800, I am paying Rwf1, 400,” said Charles Sindikubwabo, a city dweller.

According to the government's enforcement plan of the cashless payment, the passengers are to pay Rwf300 for the first two kilometres, while each of added kilometres is charged Rwf133.


Rwanda Utility Regulation Authority indicates that pricing was established after consultation and different parameters that could benefit the operators as well as sustain the sector were considered.

On the other hand, the technical hitches are proving tricky. Both passengers and the taxi-operators say that the transfer of fare from the mobile wallet of to another sometimes derails the transaction.

“I was expecting to pay using my mobile money but got stuck in the process of the paying as the connection kept failing,” said Steven Kabera, a regular taxi-moto user.

Taxi-moto operators says the meters keep crashing or losing signal, further jeopardising their businesses.

Pascal Motor Ltd, one of the four companies providing the gadget blamed the hitches on non-updated systems.

“Our technology, like anyone’s else, keeps updating as well as the company that made those gadgets, and we have been working on them to have the system working smoothly,” said Pascal Ndizeye, the managing director of Pascal Motor Ltd.