After nearly three months off the road, motorcycle taxis are back but operating under very strict regulations introduced to curb spread the COVID-19 virus.
Beginning this Wednesday, thousands of moto riders have refilled the streets, except for those operating in the border districts of Rubavu and Rusizi. Both these regions border DR Congo, and there is an upsurge of the virus there which led government to impose them on lockdown.
In Rusizi district alone, 13 cases were identified on Wednesday. In the past two weeks, infections have increased, driven by the border areas.
For the motos, industry regulator RURA has set strict measures to allow them carry passengers. The rider has to carry sanitizer and wear face mask together with the usual helmet.
The passenger has to wear a head-cover before putting on the helmet. This has to be carried by the passenger, who also must sanitize, together with face mask.
Since the motos streamed onto the roads on Wednesday, many have been seen impounded by traffic police for flouting even just one of the measures. The culprits are fined Rwf 25,000 ($26), whereby the moto is recovered after payment of the fine.
In addition, no hard cash payments are allowed. The passenger is to only pay using mobile phone transfers.
Beginning July, all motos will be fitted with a payment gadget to operate a ‘Tap and Go’ card system like it has been for many years now in public buses.