Transport difficulties were some of the hardships Olivier Mugabo Nizeyimana encountered for a bigger part of his university days. The proactive and industrious young man pursued his studies at the National University of Rwanda in Huye.
Travelling to the university with the old public buses that plied Kigali-Huye route was so hectic that many times travelers depended on God’s mercy to reach their destinations, explains Nizeyimana.
There was no fixed departure time for these public buses. Besides, the journey would take twice the time it takes under normal working conditions. They were often crammed, loaded above the passenger maximum capacity, and would make erratic stops enroute to Huye picking up commuters.
It was against this background that Nizeyimana conceived an idea of finding a solution to the disturbing transport situation. As the English adage goes necessity is the mother of invention, he was determined to improve public transport means by introducing innovations.
ìMy idea was very simple ñ to raise the quality of services for passengers by fixing departure time, introduce ticketing system and respect the seating capacity of the buses to the letter, and make stops at only gazetted areas, recalls Nizeyimana.
His dream became a reality in 1999 when Volcano Ltd started operations. The ticketing service changed the image of transport in the country to the extent that many passengers have forgotten the untold suffering blamed on the remote transport systems.
Before, passengers struggled to enter the buses, fought for seats and stampedes at the entrances had become normal. Yet, passengers would lose their properties, get injured and stressed to levels that made them hate traveling by public means.
Passengers would indefinitely wait in the bus for hours without a single idea about departure time.
Volcano Express redefined reservations through ticket booking. The firm introduced stress-free, safe and effective services for commuters implemented in an organized system to ensure buses depart on time.
The unprecedented invention guarantees travelers a seat on the bus on a specific date at specified departure and arrival times. The company purchased a fleet of buses that operate interchangeably to ensure maximum efficiency.
The Founder of Volcano Ltd, Olivier Mugabo Nizeyimana started the company before graduating with barely any capital but with a great idea, two loaned buses from Akagera Motors and support from his family.
Today, Volcano Express is arguably one of the country’s top public transport firms with a big name to its high-quality road transport services.
The firm provides transportation for passengers, cargo and courier services between Rwandan cities plus Uganda’s Capital, Kampala and Burundi’s Capital, Bujumbura.
The revolutionary public transport model plies most routes countrywide and regulators commended it.
Nizeyimana acknowledges that 1999 was a special year. He says, it has been a bumpy journey to have the company win such a recognition. Like any young student and entrepreneur, his dream has revolutionized transport in the country.
The 24-year transport company has quickly become a brand name in the country’s transportation industry with its recent penetration into the East African region.
The company does not only enjoy presence in the whole of Southern Province, but also in the Western Province with routes to the districts of Rusizi and Rubavu to Kampala route. The company also operates Kigali town service as well as cross border routes to Kampala and Bujumbura.
Besides operating public routes, Volcano Express also charters buses, offers courier services, including express parcels, packages, and has ventured into the information technology sector specifically bus ticketing.
It has created employment for hundreds as permanent and casual laborers. More than 380 are employed on a permanent basis including Booking Agents, Cashiers, Drivers, Bus Conductors, Mechanics, Security, Cleaners and Managers.
Volcano Express has created social impact in the country and specifically in Huye District where the idea was hatched. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the company distributed relief to travelers and residents.
Nizeyimana’s company passionately supports Mukura Victory Sports, where he served as the club President for 10 years and as a big football fan was formerly the Head of Rwandaís Football Federation (FERWAFA).
Volcano Express has built trust and a positive reputation among travelers in Rwanda due to excellent customer treatment on all routes. They are famous for their punctuality, flexible rescheduling policy and excellent customer services.
THE HYUNDAI FRANCHISE IN RWANDA
For group travelers, students and tourists, Volcano Express fleet of reliable Hyundai buses best known for comfort, offers free Wi-Fi, power charging outlets, air conditioning and reclining seats.
These buses have unique interior custom designs to make travelers feel fresh to and from their destinations.
To upgrade the comfort and efficacy, Volcano Express switched from operating Toyota coasters to Hyundai models.
Nizeyimana explains that the idea to incorporate Hyundai models into Volcano’s fleet of buses happened because they are comfortable and reliable.
Its from this background, that Hyundai Motor Company approached Nizeyimana to be their agent in Rwanda, which makes the Franchise to sell Hyundai models, spare parts and maintain Hyundai automobile brand in the country.
Hyundai as a global mobility brand has gained good reputation on the Rwandan roads and gradually claimed a niche for its unique technology and mobility experience.