Effective June next year, all public transport vehicles in Rwanda will be equipped with internet, Infrastructure Ministry announced.
For the past four years, Korea Telecom Network Rwanda, which entered a multi-million dollar deal with the government to rollout 4G internet in the country has managed to hit a 96.4 percent 4G coverage countrywide.
The Ministry of Infrastructure says that together with IT companies, all public transport buses in the capital Kigali and those in rural public transport will have installed-Wifi internet – allowing passengers to have access to the latest internet services.
State Minister in charge of transport at the Ministry of Infrastructure, Eng. Jean de Dieu Uwihanganye, said that 4G WIFI will be installed in all buses operating in the City of Kigali by January next year, while 3G WIFI will be installed to all Inter-city and Rural Public Transport by end 2019.
According to Minister Uwihanganye, “Test is ongoing including 100% integrated electronic payment; Real Time information System across the network,” he said on his Twitter handle.
For the capital Kigali in particular, Minister Uwihanganye highlighted that “Dedicated Bus lanes are to start once ongoing road widening in City of Kigali are completed by June; 2019. ALL Necessary preparation are being done in Parallel,” he said.
He added that the ongoing project includes rearrangement of Bus Routes in City of Kigali; new contract for operators; revised regulations and Inspection set up.
“The Project also include “New Smart Bus Shelters” (With WIFI; Digital screens) across the country starting by City of Kigali. A Sample of this is being built at Chez Lando Bus Shelter. We welcome ideas of improvement once completed before rolling out and scaling up,” Minister Uwihanganye said.
In 2013, the City of Kigali issued a five-year contract to public transport operators to run the service in the capital. The contract expired in August this year.
Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) is the custodian of contracting public transport companies to run public transport.
According to Minister Uwihanganye, the overall aim is to “make Public Transport a preferred Mode of Transport; Reliable; Safe and Comfortable.”
With the revised measures on Public Transport in the capital Kigali, Minister Uwihanganye also announced that the waiting time for passengers will be reduced by 50%.
“Average waiting time targeted will be 15minutes from 30 minutes now in City of Kigali as per NST 1 (National Strategic Transformation) Target,” he said.
Meanwhile, Patrick Buchana – Chief Executive Officer of AC Group – an IT company contracted to provide IT services to public transport buses posted an illustration of 200 people in 177 cars and same number of people using bus transport – highlighting the Group’s plan to achieve this through provision of Electronic payment, 4G Tap&Go WiFi on the bus; Reliable bus schedule and designated bus lanes, among others.