All public transporters in Rwanda will now be required to work with cooperatives as a way of improving the transport services in the country, the security of passengers and management of all transport operations.
The decision was taken by the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) and it will replace the previous manner of operation in which transport companies have been free to be or not in public transporters’ cooperatives.
It also means that RURA will, effective March 1, stop issuing licenses to transport operators, as it has been the case; instead, all transport agencies will be required to join the sector, with the permission of their respective cooperatives.
The Director-General of RURA, Francois Gatarayiha says that the new regulation will be an improvement in the public transport services.
He said: “work in cooperatives make it is easy for the security agents to control and easy for their management and good working conditions. This actually will take away the chaos among transporter, and benefit the public in general”.
This move by the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency is in line with the initiatives taken by government of Rwanda since 2007 to encourage Rwandans to work in cooperatives as a way of increasing their productivity and avenues of receiving government support.
According to statistics, there are currently 34 public transport operators under an umbrella, the Rwanda Federation of Transport Cooperatives and Express Companies.
Gatarayiha said the new policy will help government plan and monitor public transport but also enable the cooperatives to work with the Rwanda Cooperative Agency so as to get support from the government in terms of financial support.
Gatarayiha says that government will have to revise working systems so that the cooperatives can generate income for their members.
Despite the existing organization of transports-
Rwanda Transport companies sector has gone through numerous changes- from ATRACO- a former transporter association which was dissolved after years of its members complaining to the government over issues of mismanagement of funds and lack of progress.
The then ATRACO was in 2010 revamped into Rwanda Federation of Transport Cooperatives and Express Companies (RFTC) – which acts as a union of transporters. However, despite the changes in the sector, taxi operators argue that the union has not been benefiting individuals.
Most of the drivers agree with this new initiative and prospectus in the new policy, saying that the change in policy will benefit the members since they will be operating under guidelines that regulate cooperatives in Rwanda.