BUJUMBURA –Passengers travelling to and from Uganda will have a less tiring journey because the distance will be four shorter starting December after Bujumbura-Kigali-Kampala reopens.
Bus operating companies had stopped using Kampala-Kigali-Bujumbura route since 2015 when Burundi plunged into political crisis and Bujumbura regime was accusing Kigali of masterminding the failed coup.
For the last three years, passengers were using Uganda-Tanzania-Burundi route which longer and more expensive.
Many Burundian traders shopping from Uganda are excited about the reopening of the route, which also shows normalisation of the relations between Rwanda and Bujumbura.
Some Burundian traders say travelling through Rwanda is also safer because of stricter traffic rules in Rwanda. “Drivers don’t over-speed in Rwanda,” Tom Mahoro says.
Bujumbura-Kigali-Kampala route is 10 hours while the Tanzanian route is 14 hours. Passengers also say Bujumbura-Kigali-Kampala is more comfortable because there are food joints where one pick a bite.
“In Tanzania, the bigger part of the journey is spent travelling through the forests,” Mahoro says
Traders, however, say the bus fares haven’t considerably changed. “There is only a small difference of BIF 5,000. We pay BIF 50,000 when we go through Kigali and BIF 45,000 when using the Tanzanian way”, says one another passenger quoted by Iwacu newspaper
He says the difference is due to the devaluation of Burundian franc. The employees of Platinum and Friends-Mayfair, the only agencies operating from Burundi to the regional countries, say passengers may use both ways depending on which one they prefer.