I have been in country for nearly a full month now and it has taken me every day of that month to understand the Rwandan public transportation system. There four main forms of transportation within the city. The have been listed below in order of cost.
Walking Cost: Free… Advantages: there is no haggling over prices you get to see the city… Disadvantages: the sidewalks are narrow and there are 6 foot deep ditches on either side filled with garbage, sewage, occasionally chickens live chickens, falling in one of these ditches is a very real danger on crowded danger and would certainly end in a broken ankle, or possibly death.
Bus: Cost: 150Frw or $0.25Usd …Advantages: no haggling over prices, there are several bus stops near home and work, bus depots are easy to find and it is almost certain someone will speak english, or at bare minimum an english-french combination that is helpful enough… Disadvantages: Most buses are privately run and do not have a set schedule. The only way to know which bus to get on is ask where they are going, (this is where finding a translator comes in handy) The term ‘bus’ is very relative most ‘busses’ are Volkswagen or Toyota vans with collapsable seats inside. I have counted as many as 25 people and in one of these vans making most clown car acts look like child’s play.
Moto (kid on motor bike): Cost: Relatively cheap, never more than $1.50Usd, but depends on where you are going, who is driving, if you are carrying anything, if you are wearing a skirt, the day of the week, and the color of your skin (among other factors)…Advantages: fast, super easy to find, provides helmet, Great way to get around traffic jams and scary parts of town without having to walk through them… Disadvantages: When you put at 20 year old kid on a motor bike and tell them they get paid for every person they give a ride that day they are not likely to drive slow. Many roads are unpaved or cobble stone making sitting on the back uncomfortable for trips longer then 10 minuets. Motos like to race other motos which can get kind of scary at times, especially around traffic circles.
Taxi: Cost: Highly negotiable, but once again depends on the variety of factors above, but about 4 times the price of a moto, about 4 dollars to get to town. Advantages: Its a car, with real seats and real seat belts. I have several taxi drivers numbers and can call them depending on when / where I need a ride. Most are pleasant enough people and once they know you will offer better prices… Disadvantages: expensive, traffic jams, hard to flag down and identify as there are no signs or identifying colors.
There are also hired bicycles, but I have no taken one yet and do not feel I have the expertise to write on them.