Stop it! Taxi drivers protest new charges

Tuesday January 19 2021

A taxi motorcyclist on the streets of Kigali City. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA


Stung by coronavirus restrictions on movement of people and limited working hours due to the ongoing curfew, taxi drivers and motorcyclists have raised concern over the recent increase of insurance premiums.

 The increment, they say, is unreasonable and will force them out of business given that they are already operating on meagre margins.

 While the operators used to pay flat-rate premiums of at least Rwf61,000 annually in January last year, which was increased to Rwf82,200 in September for newly acquired fleets, insurers have slapped them with yet another hike as the flat-rate premiums hit Rwf98,600.

 “It is unfair to raise the insurance cost while we are still in this tough situation, and yet there is a drastic reduction in jobs and activities. Some motorcyclists used to work round the clock but now they are parked for at least 10 hours every day,” said Oneshopre Mugabo, a moto-taxi operator in Kigali City.

According to the operators, under the newly introduced premiums that came into effect last month, some of them will be paying about Rwf140,000.

Besides their monthly contributions to cooperatives of Rwf5,000, the taxi drivers pay Rwf80,000 in taxes, parking fees among other charges and transport authorisation amount to Rwf63,000, and with the recent increase, a taxi-moto operator has to pay at least Rwf2.5 million per year to meet the operating compulsory documents.


 “We now have increased insurance premiums, let alone penalties on traffic violations. The business is becoming a loss-making venture for the operators,” a taxi-moto in Gasabo district told Rwanda Today.