PHOTOS: Rwanda unveils fully electric eco-friendly public buses
Rwanda’s ‘Go Green Transport,’ an e-mobility firm, has launched a pilot program by introducing a fleet of 10 fully electric mini-buses, each capable of accommodating 23 passengers. These environmentally-conscious buses are now in service on multiple routes, including Nyanza-Downtown, Remera-Downtown, and Downtown-Nyabugogo.
In conversations with The New Times, drivers and passengers expressed their positive experiences with the new electric buses.
Gaga Cyiza, a bus driver, said he had operated various public transport vehicles before but the new electric bus one stands out for its efficiency, adding that it comfortably accommodates 22 passengers. He also added that the Rwf500 fare is a small price to pay for the level of comfort it offers.
The seats are quite comfortable, and passengers haven’t voiced any complaints. In fact, passengers who have experienced this bus once are eager to choose it again. It’s like taking a motorcycle; passengers board quickly, and we reach our destination promptly,” he said.
Jonathan Munyemanzi, a passenger who recently traveled on one of the new electric buses to Nyanza, where he resides, shared his thoughts: “Honestly, there was a conventional open bus available, and then there was this electric one, and I opted for the electric bus even though it’s Rwf230 more expensive than my usual fare. Why? It’s quite simple, really. This electric bus fills up quickly, and I noticed the comfortable seats. If these buses were to become the new norm, I wouldn’t have any complaints.
Tsega Solomon, serving as the Operations Manager at Green Go Transport, highlighted that Go Green Transport is an East African company with a strong commitment to green technology, working in partnership with its sister company, KasAutos, the manufacturer of these fully electric vehicles.
Go Green Transport primarily functions as a public transport service provider, with a particular emphasis on rental services.
The official from Green Go Transport emphasized that electric vehicles are well-regarded for their environmentally friendly characteristics and cost-effective maintenance, providing advantages to the general public, government, and business proprietors.
“This shift has unlocked unprecedented opportunities, it has led to the creation of numerous direct and indirect job opportunities and is a preferable alternative to importing fuel, which consumes billions in foreign currency. Moreover, the operational cost of an electric vehicle is 40 percent less than that of petroleum vehicles. The government has been highly supportive, offering tax exemptions, public taxi licenses, and skilled manpower in Rwanda,” Solomon said.
She further revealed that the primary challenge lies in charging station infrastructure, which currently operates with low efficiency.
“We aspire to collaborate with the government to address this issue. As a company engaged in selling electric vehicles of various sizes, we have plans to install charging stations in Kigali and other selected areas of Rwanda, along with after-sale services,” she added.
Back in July, the Rwandan government and Vivo Energy forged an agreement to bring over 200 electric buses to the country, but as of now, these vehicles have yet to make their way into Rwanda. This represents a groundbreaking moment as it signifies the inaugural use of fully electric vehicles within Rwanda’s public transportation network.
Photos: The New Times