The public transport sector is one of the hardest sectors to change in Africa. Motorcycles scooters, popularly known as motors, comprise the largest mode of public transport in Kigali. The motors can only carry one passenger at a time. In Harare, the public transport is under the control of Kombis. Kombis can carry a maximum of 18 passengers. The surprising fact is that the population in the two towns is almost the same. You can now imagine how many motors are in the streets of Kigali. On top of that, the transport rates are not fixed. One can make their preferred charges.
Yegomoto transport was launched in Kigali to offer a solution to the unmonitored and variable mode of public transport. The platform introduced a digital meter that has a GPS and is connected to the internet. The meter calculates the fare based on Rwanda’s transport regulation rates. This relieves the passengers from the burden of arguing with the driver. Furthermore, the platform allows payments to be made through electronic forms. Since mobile money is reliable and secure, passengers will not worry about loss of large sums of money in form of cash.
The best thing about Yegomoto is that collection of data is done in real time. The Yegomoto employees in their offices can easily locate each taxi that has their meter installed. They can also monitor the business from what each driver makes to how hard they work. The data can later be used to formalize the public transport sector. Remember, this is the hardest sector to formalize in Africa. Hence, in as much as the move will help to reduce passenger’s deaths on the roads, it will be achieved effectively if violators get punished in a transparent way.
The launch of the Yegomoto is not yet ripe in Harare and Bulawayo. The two cities need to do more research and invest on a new system in a different way. This is an investment which the two cities cannot afford, since they have more pressing issues to solve such as water shortage, before embarking on public transport.
Yegomoto has managed to invest $5.5 million. They also hope to invest $12 million before expanding to other cities and towns in Kigali. The amount of investment is required to develop the software and meter that will power it. As they raise the funds, the firm has gone out of its way to train drivers on road safety and the importance of observing traffic regulations. Furthermore, the company has a strict code for drivers. They don’t hire unregistered drivers. The company’s bedrock is software and data. The founders took a period of 18 months to carry out research. They also carried out 1,500 rides within the city making over 1,000 interviews. The interviews involved passengers and drivers which aided them to come up with this solution. There is a vast opportunity in Zimbabweans public transport sector that Yegomoto hopes to capitalise.