After more than two months without transporting passengers, taxi moto operators in Kigali city have started warming up for the D-Day June 1, when they return to work.
Taxi motos are among the crucial services that the government has closed down since March 21st when the first strict coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown was announced, in which the measure only allowed an exception of using taxi motos in deliveries.
Yesterday Health Minister Dr. Daniel Ngamije said that sample testing of Kigali taxi moto drivers is ongoing to establish a baseline, ahead of safe return of motos on 1st June.
After the covid-19 testing, the minister also said that in order for all taxi motos to resume passenger transportation, they will be required to sanitize their helmets, carry hand sanitizers and wear face masks just as the passengers.
Now with only three days to go, KTPress caught up with hundreds of Taxi moto operators who are undergoing coronavirus tests (swabs), and receiving moto meters which will be used as a new means of payment replacing cash money.
The moto meter, which is used to read and charge moto fares per kilometer, was introduced in 2016 by Rwanda Utility Regulatory Authority (RURA) but hit a major setback as a result of slow uptake.
This project was revived at the beginning of this year, with taxi motos operators, through their cooperatives undergoing fresh training on how to use moto meters and was expected to be launched before the attack of Covid-19 pandemic in March.
In collaboration with Pascal Technologies, government is distributing pro bono 10,000 motor meters to all taxi moto riders in Kigali
“We plan on distributing these meters to all taxi motos in Kigali. This will take us another week and then we embark on other regions afterwards, said Pascal Ndizeye, the CEO of Pascal Technologies.
At the Kigali in-door stadium where the meter distribution is being done, a fleet of taxi moto operators were enthusiastic to take a covid-19 test, then receiving a brand new motor meter which is installed free of charge by hired technicians.
“It takes about 15 minutes to install the meter to the motorbike wiring system. And I have already worked on 40 motorbikes,” said JMV Mfashwenimana, a technician.
After this installation, moto operators look excited about starting a new journey of using technology to promote digital payments, which are already being used for public transport in Kigali.
Anastase Hakizimana, 30, with eight years old moto operating experience said that Covid-19 came with many lessons and challenges which include adjusting to cashless payments and learning how to save for the future.
“I totally have a new purpose of how to work in life after coronavirus. I was caught off guard when we were closed down but this time, I will be very careful,” he said.