ONATRACOM: Advancing a vast and affordable transport network

Minega Isibo 

As Rwanda strives to turn its Vision 2020 dream into a reality, the transport sector will be a critical component in this potential transformation. With this in mind, national transport service operator, ONATRACOM has set out to upgrade its services to rise up to the challenge.  

The presence of these buses has played a major role in easing the chaos of after-work hours where the taxi stage in town takes on the distinct appearance of a war zone. Gone are the days when every taxi would cruise past the bus stop with its seats fully occupied leaving stranded city dwellers behind. Today in comes the spacious ONATRACOM and everyone gets a ride home for a paltry fee. So popular it has become that one of the most recognizable features in Kigali City is the large green buses with an astonishing ability to infiltrate through the city suburbs. 

The popularity of these buses has grown to cover the entire region. Children on the roadsides of Huye, Rusizi, Musanze, Rubavu, Kayonza, Nyagatare, Muhanga, Ngorero and Rwamagana all scream whenever the bus cruises past them. Not surprising, as it is one of the few automobiles that will reach that part of the country. 

Dissatisfied with simply local routes, the company spread its wings throughout the region by plying the Kigali-Kampala and Kigali-Bujumbura highways at the most affordable rates.  

Without a doubt, ONATRACOM is the cheapest means of transport in the city, around the country and in the region. Within the city a bus ticket costs 100 francs while other minibuses charge 150 francs. This 30% price reduction is marked also on upcountry and regional routes. 

This year, the company plans to take its vision to the next level by implementing a high-tech fleet management tracking system which will utilize GPRS and satellite. The pilot project for this system is already in place with five buses currently utilizing it and it is envisaged that in 2008, the system will be installed in more than eighteen buses. This fleet management system will contain live tracking and trip replay using GPRS and satellite. Furthermore, it will have modern fuel consumption and mechanical problem reporting systems as an essential component of this high-tech fleet management. A fuel flap system will also be installed to monitor the fuel consumption of the buses. 

The arrival of this management and tracking system heralds a new and exciting dawn for the transport industry and signals determination to modernize the industry. When it comes to efficiency and innovation, ONATRACOM is setting the pace not just for the transport industry, but for the service industry as a whole. 

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