Kigali is partnering with a smart and green mode transport company based in Rwanda to launch a bicycle transport in the city.
Under the partnership, GURARIDE is now installing modern green mobility ridesharing docking stations across two networks: City Centre and Gisimenti- Kimironko corridors.
Each station has provision for at least five bikes for the start, and these will be accessed by users free-of-charge for the first three months, though “fair ride costs” will be introduced subsequently, according to the city’s statement issued on Wednesday, May 26.
This will be the first phase of the bikeshare rollout, and the network will be expanded to other parts of the city as feasible.
“Rwandans will start using GURARIDE bikes in the month of July 2021 as we are currently setting up docking stations in the two approved Demo corridors which are Central Business District (CBD) and Kisimenti where we have bicycle lanes already established,” says Tony B. Adesina, founder and Chief Executive Officer of GURARIDE.
He added; “The decision to start with these two corridors was made after carrying out several surveys and analyzing where we have heavy foot traffic as well as existing bicycle lanes, in order to ease the general public to the gradual acceptance of bikeshare and using bicycles as a means of last mile transport.”
He says they will be rolling out smart bikes and electric bikes.
“The initial roll out commencing in the month of July will be the Smart Bikes, while the E-bikes will be introduced between the month of August and September,” he said.
GURARIDE will deploy bicycles for the bikeshare program across the city to make movement from one point to another more convenient and affordable for the citizens of Rwanda.
It is a nationwide project that is kicking off with Kigali as a starting point while spreading across other districts of Musanze, Rubavu, Bugesera and Huye.
Huye being Rwanda’s educational hub will be the main target as the bicycle sharing scheme program is designed to also help youth access affordable and clean means of transport.
“Mindset changes are already happening as the initial feedback from users have demonstrated the willingness of Rwandans to adopt this method of transportation. We have equally found out that over 65% of students polled have shown or indicated interest in this project,” said Tony.
“This project started since 2018 and one of the drawbacks was the topography which invariably led us to various concepts of both smart bikes and Electric bikes. We finally came up with the final concept that can adequately handle the challenges of the hilly areas in our newly designed e-bikes,” Tony further explains.
Rwanda is one of the leading countries in Africa in bicycle innovations. Characterized by its hilly landscapes, Rwanda has not only hosted several international cycling competitions (including the Tour du Rwanda), but is also a hub for bicycle innovations in tourism, urban mobility and entrepreneurship.
In 2020, a cycling tourism initiative was launched by the Rwanda Cycling Federation (FERWACY) in Musanze District in the north of the country. This is among the many initiatives put in place to double tourism revenues from $374 million generated in 2016 to a projected $800 million by 2024.
The cycling federation has been working with the Rwanda Development Board to streamline activities and encourage cycling tourism. Cycling events and initiatives influence tourists to stay longer and thereby spend more money.
In 2018 as part of wider efforts to further the growth of cycling as both a sport and a tourism experience, the Rwandan government announced a 25 per cent tax waiver on the importation of mountain and racing bicycles.
A recent study commissioned by the Rwanda Environment Management Authority found that vehicular traffic in urban centres is one of the two primary sources of air pollution.