Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA is yet to complete renovations of the old Taxi Park nine months after works commenced.
KCCA contracted Sterling Civil Engineering and Kiru General Services to renovate the park.
However the completionof the park is behind schedule since it was supposed to have been completed in August. Works started in May 2020.
However, works have continued with KCCA saying that contractors were affected by the lockdown and curfew that was instituted by the government to control the spread of the Corona Virus. This slowed works since they worked for a few hours.
KCCA contract engineer Joel Wasswa also said that the heavy rains also affected the progress, especially during the excavation stage.
According to plan, KCCA is supposed to work on the carpet or floor of the park, install 15 shelters measuring 1.5 meters where passengers can sit or stand to wait for taxis and construct two walkways.
The park was designed to have two entry points and one exit along Ben Kiwanuka Street.
Also, five designated pedestrian entry points from Burton Street and along the Non-Motorized Transport corridor on Wilson road.
KCCA further planned to install lights in the park and also renovate the three buildings there to accommodate a KCCA office and toilet block for the park.
Currently, the carpet is almost complete with only a small section covering stages of Kyambogo, Bweyogerere, Banda stages and others are yet to be paved.
The drainage system in and around the park is still being constructed and the sheds yet to be put up. Engineer Wasswa puts the works at 70 percent completion and hopes remaining works are completed by end of March 2021. He says apart from completing the pavement layer, they still have drainage works especially at the peripheries of the park.
When works started at the park, about 400 taxis that operated there were relocated to other parks. However, due to their large numbers, hundreds have continued to operate on the streets. They park at Burton Street, at Nakivubo Mews and Mini Price. Although there were already some taxis at these locations, the number increased significantly when works at the park started.
Some Taxi operators want KCCA to expedite the works saying they don’t get enough passengers on the street.
Hassan Lubowa a driver along Jinja Road says it’s risky working on the road because there are vehicles, Boda Bodas and passengers all competing for space. He adds that they pay parking fees to multiplex company which they otherwise wouldn’t pay had they been in a park.
Another driver, Musa Lwesibawa says passengers are scattered and only a few come to the streets to get taxis. He says that before the park was closed for renovations, he would make at least two routes to his destination in Mukono a day, but now he struggles to make even one.
Julius Kisembo, who operates outside Magoba Shopping Center, says that the biggest challenge they face is paying parking fees to Multiplex. He says they are charged Shillings 1,500 per hour, which is costly.
Once renovations are completed, the park will accommodate 344 taxis. The operators were asked to find land to work as a waiting area for taxis before they come into the park for loading.