Riding public transportation in Africa has long meant digging into pockets for coins and notes and figuring out the proper fare, or fidgeting while the person ahead of you does the same. Delays, frustration and pickpocketing were the norm — until a 24-year-old Rwandan set out to revamp the system.
In 2015, Patrick Buchana started AC Group, a software development company, to introduce a cashless payment solution for public transport in Kigali, Rwanda’s megacity of 1.2 million people. In collaboration with the government and local bus operators, the Tap&Go solution was put in place as part of the Smart Kigali initiative to modernize the capital.
“We saw the challenges in public transport. … There were too many delays, and income suffered because there was no sure way to monitor how many people used the bus,” Buchana says. “And as public transport users, we were affected.”