Cashless Payment but “We Don’t Know When the Bus Is Coming”

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Kigali, Rwanda - Smart Mobility Lab

Kigali is a very laid back city – at least on a Sunday.

I was walking around by foot and enjoyed the calm atmosphere and the many smiling faces. Private cars? A few. Buses? Even fewer. Walking people? Many! Moto taxis? A lot!

The city seems to be driven by moto taxis, some actually with batteries provided by the local company Ampersand.

I waited with a young man for the bus to Kigali downtown and asked him when the bus would come and he said, “We don’t know when the bus is coming.”

A Tap&Go card reader on a bus in Kigali, Rwanda.
A Tap&Go card reader on a bus in Kigali, Rwanda.

Of course, this is reality in many places across the planet, but the good thing is that we are here in Kigali to change exactly this. When we entered the bus, I gave him money to pay for my ride with his card, because the payment in the bus is made with a Tap&Go card. He said, “Everything in Kigali nowadays is made with the card: the money, the bus, the doctors.” 

Indeed, Rwanda is very digital, also the bureaucratic processes. I had already heard this from a friend who is a coffee farmer. So, where, if not in Kigali, should we be able to live-track the buses and give this information to the users?

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