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Gov’t moves to regulate digital transport networks

FILE PHOTO: Safe Boda

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Government plans to license and regulate special transport networks that operate through online digital applications. Some of the online transport networks currently operating on the Ugandan market include Safe Boda, bold previously known as Taxify, Uber, Friendship Taxi, Quick Taxi and Mondo Ride.

The travel options came with the advancement in technology, giving members of the public an opportunity and convenience to request for rides in the comfort of their different locations, through the use of mobile phones. But they took the country by storm, yet drastically changed the face of the transport industry.

Now the government is proposing that any person who wishes to provide an online digital platform for provision of public service transport to passengers or goods, must apply to the Department of Transport Regulation and Safety.

This is contained in the new Traffic and Road Safety (Amendment) Bill, 2019 which was tabled before parliament last week by Works and Transport Minister Eng. Monica Azuba Ntege. The bill seeks to regulate the evolution of digital public transport services and to strengthen road transport regulation and road safety management in Uganda.

According to the principles of the Bill, the government wants to take into account new and emerging trends and dynamics of road transport and road safety management, the increased number of road users, including motorcycles, increased accidents and the need to conform to the regional and international agreements Uganda is a signatory to.

It is suggested that the Department of Transport Regulation and Safety may, require that the drivers to be hosted on the digital platform are accredited and issued with badges and require the applicant to submit a tax clearance from Uganda Revenue Authority. The government will also conduct background checks before granting licenses to the applicants.

Companies will also be expected to submit periodic reports and information to the Department of Transport Regulation and Safety.

Bulamogi County MP Kenneth Lubogo says that licensing of digital transport providers is important to ensure that gaps in the transport sector are closed and to encourage smooth operations.

Kasese Municipality MP Robert Centenary has equally welcomed the development saying that this should be one of the avenues to guarantee the safety of passengers.

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