Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory authority (RURA) announced a new set of regulations that will mandate the use of digital money by motorbike taxis, popularly known as Boda Bodas. The measures are in compliance with cabinet directives passed on March 18 and are meant to safeguard the public as the economy slowly opens up to the ‘new normal.’ As the main body regulating the transport of goods and persons on the road and inland waterways, compliance will kick in on June 1, 2020.
Other measures outlined are:
- Mandatory availability of hand sanitizers
- Passengers should wear a clean piece of cloth over the head before donning the helmet.
- Both motorcycle and passenger must wear face masks
- City cashless payment measures will soon extend to other parts of the countryside.
- Passengers who can afford their own personal helmets advised to get them
- Boda Boda riders should observe social distancing when parking
The measures will require the 146 motorcycle cooperatives across the country to equip their fleets with GPS-enabled devices capable of calculating the distance covered and fare to be charged. Rwanda has over 45,000 Boda Boda riders of which 26,000 operate in Kigali, accounting for 60 percent of public transport.
The new measure shave elicited mixed reactions as some argue they mean well but might result in unprecedented fare hikes. Given the riders incur withdrawal charges, they feel obliged to pass on that cost to their customers to avoid incurring losses.