The Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) will no longer be responsible for issuing tenders to public transport operators in the country, the newly gazetted law governing land and waterways transport, stipulates.
Under the new regulations, local government authorities, such as city administrations, will assume the role of issuing tenders. However, RURA will maintain its oversight function in regulating private transport companies, ensuring they meet all necessary requirements before applying for tenders.
The move comes as a response to the challenges that have plagued public transport regulation in Rwanda. Patricie Uwase, the Minister of Infrastructure, explained that the institution responsible for both issuing tenders (RURA) and regulating public transport operators created an operational overlap, leaving room for inefficiencies.
“In cities like Kigali where public transport is essential, tenders will now be directly negotiated between private investors and city administrations, rather than through RURA. Nevertheless, RURA will continue to play a pivotal role in ensuring that investors fulfill the prerequisite criteria before submitting their bids,” she added.
Under the new arrangement, prospective investors will first need to approach RURA to obtain a license before participating in public transport tender processes facilitated by city authorities. To streamline the process and reduce bureaucracy, all licensing and tender application services will be consolidated into a one-stop center known as the Mobility Department.
Uwase also addressed the persistent challenge of bus shortages in Kigali and other parts of Rwanda. She projected that, by the end of the current year or early next year at the latest, all 100 buses procured by the government from China would have arrived, alleviating the scarcity.
Additionally, a promising partnership between the government and Vivo Energy is set to bring 205 electric buses to the country next year. To accommodate these electric buses, Rwanda is actively working on establishing the necessary infrastructure, including charging stations.
Vivo Energy Rwanda will spearhead the procurement of electric buses and the establishment of a dedicated charging and maintenance depot.
This collaboration stems from a comprehensive feasibility study conducted by Vivo Energy in conjunction with the Ministry of Infrastructure and the City of Kigali, with a specific focus on electrifying Kigali’s public bus fleet.