The festive season is a much awaited period for many city dwellers to go back to their country homes to reconnect with their relatives and friends. But many a times many they miss out this chance due to the last minute upcountry travels that make bus terminals a scene of congestion and scrumble.
Roseline Dushime had been waiting for the day her employer would close business and allow her to travel to Nyaruguru to see her boyfriend and also celebrate Christmas with her family.
However, when she arrived at Nyabugogo bus terminal on Saturday, all buses were booked.
“My aim was to celebrate Christmas at home but I cannot get a ticket,” she told KT Press. Dushime is one of the hundreds wishing to travel for Christmas in villages but by Saturday morning almost all buses many were fully booked.
A ticketing agent at Capital travel agency told KTPress that since Tuesday they have sold more tickets than usual. Passengers heading out of the city are so many since Thursday.
“We are getting many callers booking tickets for their trips. There are others who are coming to buy tickets for next week,” she says.
Ngirinshuti Alphonse another stranded passenger told KT Press at the bus terminal that he had secured a deal to play guitar for a church choir on Sunday but all buses to Ngoma are fully booked. He wanted to carry his equipment but is now stranded
“If I don’t get a ticket tonight, chances are I won’t make it tomorrow. I borrowed the equipment hoping to make some money for this festive season but now my hopes have been shattered.”
A newly married couple we met at the bus terminal is among the affected people. They had planned to go spend the long Christmas weekend in Karongi district at the shores of Lake Kivu but couldn’t get two seats in any bus. “We have no choice, we’ll spend Christmas in Kigali against our will.”
Patrick Nizeyimana who is in charge of van/cart at Volcano agency says they’re having all buses that travel upcountry full but some return half empty.
“Many people are travelling. For example I used to dispatch a bus every half-an-hour to Huye and Nyanza but currently am allocating even three as soon as they become available. Many people are going to villages until probably after the New Year celebrations.”
“I can predict some people will even spend nights here at the station. They plan travelling but don’t book tickets on time. Some like the housekeepers say they get permission and rush to Nyabugogo without prior booking. When they’re not served they spend nights here waiting for the first place available.”
But Nzeyimana assures that Volcano has arranged to keep starting at 5am and closing businesses at 7:30pm for long routes like Nyamagabe, Huye and Nyanza and until 9pm to towns near Kigali like Muhanga.
Therese Mahoro who was lucky to get a ticket to Nyanza was with her three children Saturday in Nyabugogo. “I am happy that I managed to get a ticket for my family. It’s a pleasure when one spends the festive season with the rest of the people at home.”