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Bus operators explain transport fare hike

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Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Transport fares have soared as more Ugandans travel to the countryside ahead of Christmas and New Year festivities. The most affected are distant routes to the East and the western parts of the Country, where fares have more than doubled.

Justus Baribumpe, a driver for buses plying the Kampala-Kabale route in South Western Uganda says that buses are nearly empty on their return journeys prompting them to hike the rate for Kampala outbound journeys.

The fare to Kisoro district has increased to more than 40,000 Shillings from the usual 30,000 Shillings rate. But Baribumpe says it is likely to increase to even 60,000 as Christmas draws close.

On the northern route, transport to Koboko now ranges between 50,000 and 60,000 up from 40,000 Shillings; Transport to Adjumani District which was previously 35,000 Shillings is now 50,000 while travelling to Juba in South Sudan has gone to 100,000 Shillings for ordinary buses and 120,000 Shillings for the executive service.

Moses Abaho, the Manager for Bismarkan Bus Services says Mbarara has been increased to 30,000 Shillings from 20,000 Shillings while transport to Ntungamo and beyond is between 40,000 and 70,000 Shillings.

Joseph Aganyira, a taxi driver on the Kampala-Kagadi route says return routes are very costly because very few people are coming to Kampala. Kagadi, Kakumiro and Kibaale transport has also increased.

But despite the hike, Aganyira says the number of people travelling to villages is still low.

Jackson Wacibra, the Manager of Gaaga Bus Services in Kampala says that the company has increased the number of buses on each route to avoid return journeys. He, however, says that Gaaga will not intend to make any increment beyond 5000 Shillings on each route.

To avoid the last minute rush, passengers plying the northern Uganda route have been advised to book two days in advance.

“The system we have put in place is to book two days ahead. In most case when we come to seasons like this, we increase the number of buses but they are also not enough because of high volumes of passengers. But we have added two buses on each route,” Wacibra says.

Robert Ssekitoleko, the Vice Chairperson of New Taxi Park in Kampala, however, says they regulate their own taxis. He, however, adds that increasing the fares is inevitable.

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