Google+
Wednesday 23rd of April 2014 10:05:52 AM
 

You buy the Truth, we pay the Price
 

Rwanda wants to drive on the left

E-mail Print PDF

Rwanda will soon switch to the left-hand drive system on its roads. 

Currently Rwanda uses a right-hand drive system on its roads and most vehicles are right-hand.

 “Public opinion about switching driving sides is 54 per cent in favour. 32% are against,” the study shows. It was carried out by Dr Barisay Mahabubul, a transport economic expert at ministry of infrastructure.

If Rwanda adopts the left-hand drive, it will have harmonised its traffic system with that of the rest of East Africa to which it’s now a member and the Commonwealth countries, a grouping the country has applied to join.

But overall, the study says it’s cheaper to own, easier to maintain and therefore cost effective to operate right hand vehicles.

This means government of Rwanda will have to repeal regulations requiring all traffic to keep the left side of the road and also lift a ban on importation of right-hand vehicles.

However the study cites some challenges should Rwanda switch driving sides. It warns that government will lose 16 percent vehicle import tax revenues.

It is anticipated that accidents will increase before the drivers get used to the left-hand driving.  It is estimated that in 20 years there will be a 402 more accidents.

A Presidential Decree of 2005 slammed a ban on importation of right hand vehicles, giving motorist s only four years to phase out the right-hand drive cars.

The decree partly states: “All motor vehicles registered in Rwanda must have a steering apparatus on the left-hand side. People already owning motor vehicles with steering apparatus contrary to the above have a period not exceeding four years to have respected it starting from the day of its signature.”

John Bosco Rusagara, Chairman of Rwanda Forwarders and Clearing Agents, told The Independent the ban has had negative effects on the economy and scared investors in the transport sector.

 Some Rwandan transporters now buy and register right hand trucks in neighbouring countries denying treasury a lot of revenue.

For example Jaguar, a passenger bus company with a fleet of 10, is owned by a Rwandan investor but is registered in Uganda.

The investor found it cheaper to register in Uganda. According to the study, right-hand vehicles are 16-49 per cent cheaper compared to the left hand ones.

For example without taxes and duties a left-hand car costs $7337 on average while the right-hand car $5602, a difference of $12735. 

A left-hand drive pickup costs $13,279 while a right hand one costs $11,021. The study also discovered a three-axle truck costs $59,638 while a right-hand one costs $49,891. The restriction has sparked high transport costs in the country and slowed growth in the transport sector.

Currently Rwanda has 2,165 locally registered cargo trucks. This means importers heavily rely on foreign trucks to deliver cargo in the country.

Foreign cargo haulers account for over 70 per cent (about 5,025) of the total number of trucks that deliver cargo in the country, partly because they are cheaper to hire.

“When you buy a truck cheaply definitely the transport cost will also be cheaper,” Rusagara said.

Government has realised the transport problems the country is facing and wants to address the matter.

But the foreign trucks that the country heavily depends on are inconvenienced by Rwanda’s traffic laws.

Out of an estimated 1,600kms from Mombasa to Kigali, it is only between Gatuna to Kigali where drivers switch driving sides from left to right for a stretch of 70km.

Should recommendations in the study be adopted, this will force government to source funding for redesigning the roads to suit the left-hand drive system. The government will also have to make new road signs.

Only 28 percent of the world’s total road distance carries traffic on the left and 72 percent on the right.


Comments (19)Add Comment
My dear
written by Meddy, August 12, 2009
It wont be easy since every body is a right hand drive,more accidents.
Let government teach peaple first,as up to now i believe most of drivers here are care less,for example here during night most drivers when they stop at night they leave head on lights on instead of switching parking lights,most of drivers donot care about it
...
written by GASORE, August 12, 2009
Well, not much information about the impending project has reached us but we hope much education will be conducted to ally our concerns and assure us about the benefits which will outweigh the risks. Anyways, we dont fear change if that change if for the better.
mr
written by philip, August 12, 2009
this would be fine as it makes acquiring a car much easier, man right hand drive cars are so affordable...... men i wud b so lucky....
Waste of Time and Money
written by Alex, August 12, 2009
I don’t how this opinion poll was done but I completely disagree with its findings.

First Rwanda will economically not benefit from this change: despite what is insinuated in this article , Cars imported from Europe or USA may cost a little bit more but they are 3 times in a better shape than those from Dubai, even if they equally old!! Mostly because EU/USA standard are much higher and their maintenance is highly valued in these countries. In addition,it is pretentious to say that they cost more, since they also last longer; Fx; Toyota Corona from Dubai will have a life circle of 5-8 years in Rwanda, and a Toyota Carina from Belgium will have life circle will be 10-15! And in addition you will find features such as ABS, Airbag etc, in almost all cars imported from Europe/USA (manufactured after 1992).

Secondly, in UK they drive differently from the rest of the EU but I don’t think there is complaints for either UK citizens or or other Europeans about that issue. In addition, I don’t think cars are cheaper in UK or Australia than in rest of EU or USA.

Finally, I don’t think Rwanda can afford the luxury of spend billions in changing all Road signs and send every drive back to driving-school (we don’t have).

Change is good, but change for the sake of change is unwise.


Alex
...
written by Alex, August 12, 2009
Secondly, in UK they drive differently from the rest of the EU but I don’t think there is complaints for either UK citizens or or other Europeans about that issue. In addition, I don’t think cars are cheaper in UK or Australia than in rest of EU or USA.

Finally, I don’t think Rwanda can afford the luxury of spend billions in changing all Road signs and send every drive back to driving-school (we don’t have).

Change is good, but change for the sake of change is unwise.
Why not announce it earlier?
written by Kalisa, August 12, 2009
While it is good that the independent has sourced this information,am wondering why it is not passed on to the Rwandan citizen earlier for their preparations other than announcing it on the date of implementation. By the way,am wondering how can an external newspaper can announce to us news when we the citizen have not heard it before. Why does'nt our local papers announce this,since it is in our interest other than outsiders?
Mr.
written by Emma, August 12, 2009
Mr. Kalisa, style up man, our local media not publishing such stories does not rule out the fact that the study was indeed conducted. Besides, news papers report news, and indeed it is news to both you and and the local media there.
However, i perfectly know that we have farsighted leaders who can know what is good for the citizenry, so all we need is give them a bit of time to decide for the people and motivate their choice.
Bwana
written by Kayihura, August 12, 2009
Perhaps the reporter may ask a few more questions from wherever the info came from,
such as, how many people participated in the survey, what were their backgrounds, language, education, businessmen or privates, what language was the survey conducted in, how many participants outside kigali?..etc
I also totally agree with Alex's comments.
What's this?
written by Ben, August 13, 2009
For the first time, i am starting to question if the people should work for the vision or the vision should work for the people. Rwanda is doing to much like a little kid who is trying to make an impression to his teachers. Look... Rwanda can still drive on the right side and still be a part of East Africa. I think that ...at the time when the vision 2020 will be realized,,, nobody will still be around to enjoy the fruits of the effort. Some will be dead in accidents and some teachers will have no jobs because they cannot speak English. Look i think change is good but we all should use common sense when dealing with these kind of issues. And i think Common Sense and Humanity are axactly the most important things that have been missing in the current Rwandan goverment
What a waste of time and money
written by Ben, August 13, 2009
Total waste of time and money, think of all the converts of Left/Right hand drive vehicles. I think this will lead to more accidents.
Rwanda-A try and Error State
written by Robert, August 17, 2009
Rwanda has of late become a state of all possible experiments.
Why in the first place they decided to ban right hand cars, Goodness knows!!!
But given the huge bunch of inexperienced policy makers in Rwanda,we are yet to see even more band wargon policies
let left hand car get into the country without traffic interuption
written by issa, September 14, 2009

if its a business matter, i think the good way through this would be letting left hand car get into the country but the idea of switching the driving lane can occur as a slow process other wise be ready for a huge amount of accident than ever. on the other hand as our country is already part of the east african country then we will be losing as left hand car( which are cheaper) from other east african country will be allowed to do business in our country and will therefore have reduced price than handcars offer" this can be seen as explained to the case jaguar. also the fact that more investers may be intersted in investing in neighbour country to follow the same Jaguar idea.
Good move
written by George, November 15, 2010
Vehicles with steering on right hand side meant to be driven on left side of road are far cheaper. For example Ford is a USA company. But it is exporting to several countries out of its plant in Chennai due to cheap rate labour. The country Samoa also made switch to left side traffic (right steering vehicles) because of same reason - cheap vehicles due to cheap labour.

There is no change in quality as the same American, German companies etc are the ones who are producing the right steering vehicles.

So majority Human Beings are right hand sided so easier steering control with the right hand as power hand.
Used cars from Japan
written by Zharfan, December 16, 2010
I'm From Malaysia. Which driving on left hand traffic with right hand drive cars.

RHD cars are cheap especially used cars from Japan. If Rwanda successfully change to left hand traffic, Japan will receive new market on Japanese used car export business and lot of cheap Japanese car for sale in Rwanda. Kenya is an example where used Japanese car is really popular.

Samoa changing to left hand traffic because cheap used cars from Japan also many Samoans live in Australia and New Zealand which also have left hand traffic.

90% Rwanda's border with left hand traffic, it is economical and lots of benefit to change.

Many country in the world wanted to use Japanese used cars because very high quality, cheap and low mileage. Conversion of steering is possible but too expensive.
Used cars from Japan
written by Zharfan, December 16, 2010
I'm From Malaysia. Which driving on left hand traffic with right hand drive cars.

RHD cars are cheap especially used cars from Japan. If Rwanda successfully change to left hand traffic, Japan will receive new market on Japanese used car export business and lot of cheap Japanese car for sale in Rwanda. Kenya is an example where used Japanese car is really popular.

Samoa changing to left hand traffic because cheap used cars from Japan also many Samoans live in Australia and New Zealand which also have left hand traffic.

90% Rwanda's border with left hand traffic, it is economical and lots of benefit to change.

Many country in the world wanted to use Japanese used cars because very high quality, cheap and low mileage. Conversion of steering is possible but too expensive.
Agent en douane
written by Kigabo Gizele, October 05, 2011
Any progress on this plan to swith to RHD cars? Rwandans are missing opportunies that come with RHD cars while people in other east african countries are making a lot of money with these cheap cars.
car mechanic
written by mambo, November 03, 2011
wo wo wo, hoold on, hold on people, am a rwandan mechanic operating in uk with quite time in the motor industry experience, i think the change of driving side is not that important, when was the last time any of us have heard a country changing a driving side that is been used since its first car? think of the accidents and confusion? what we need is better roads, safe cars, more used car parts imports(as we lack parts)...and i think the goverment is doing the right thing, cutting congestion, car control technic chek(mot)... but it could improve by listening to citizens and facilitate them as well
car mechanic
written by mambo, November 03, 2011
we have enough accidents as it is already, cars fly on top of house roofs while people r having dinner, cars fall on lacs an river, cars hit any thing an roll over nothing by many careless drivers in our small roads, people honk they car horns 24/7...so lets no change road side driving, and then signs, and then new road code...and cause chaos but lets improve our roads improve our driving especially respecting pedestrians!!! zebra crossing people, they r made for pedestrians to cross the road, any one who's been to rwanda knows what am talking about
]2009 BMW X6 SPORT ($29000)
written by Matin, February 08, 2013
2009 BMW X6 SPORT ($29000)
VERY SPECIAL Price ! URGENT SALE!
4.4L V8 TWIN TURBO, VERY POWERFUL
DONT HAVE ANY ACCIDENT!!! VERY CLEAN
ORIGINAL AC SCHNITSER KIT
HEAD UP DISPLAY
AUTO DOORS
Valid Warranty till the end of December 2013
DVD/TV/GPS for more details contact me at matinkei@yahoo.com

Write comment

busy