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Public transport opened up in Kampala after passengers sleep at parks

STRANDED: Travellers wait for taxis at the old taxi park in Kampala, Uganda, on June 04, 2020, the first day of re-opening public transport.  PHOTO AFP

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Works and KCCA have granted a temporary waiver for public transporters plying upcountry routes who have not yet finalized registration to carry passengers for the next three days.

This a day after passengers were forced to sleep at various taxi parks in the city due to unavailability of fully registered transporters, and the ongoing curfew.

STATEMENT

Following the opening up of public transport on 4th June 2020, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and the Ministry of Works and Transport started the process of registering all Commuter public transport operators to regulate operations of the industry. This registration is being conducted at Old Kampala Secondary School and Kitante Primary School. These registration centers will be open until 30th June 2020.

As at 3rd June 2020 over 3000 Taxis and 500 Buses and their drivers/owners plying various routes in the country have been registered including those operating upcountry destinations across the country.

We have experienced a surge in the number of passengers who would like to travel upcountry because they are unable to continue living in the city due to economic impact of COVID 19 and the cost of living.

Considering that the curfew time has also interrupted the movements of Buses that had been travelling at night, we have noted some passengers sleeping in the parks and the public transporters failing to meet demands of the passengers.

For the above reasons, we have made a temporary waiver for public transporters plying upcountry routes who have not yet finalized registration to carry passengers for a period of three (3) days up to Monday 8th June 2020. The waiver permit shall be authorized by the Resident City Commissioner (R.C.C) and KCCA team shall issue the permit from the parks to any PSV vehicle ready to transport the passengers. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS PERMIT IS FREE OF CHARGE.

WHY THE STRANDED NUMBERS?

There are a combination of factors that have led to the high numbers of the stranded passengers currently in the parks:

  1. We underestimated the fact that the impact of COVID 19 abrupt lock down had resulted to many people staying in Kampala yet they had wanted to travel upcountry. When public transport opened, majority of those who have no proper employments, or had been caught here wanted to travel upcountry. So a huge number suddenly came to the park and overwhelmed the few upcountry PSV.
  2. The reduction in the capacity to be carried by Buses and Taxis limited the numbers of passengers the PSV can carry leading to many passengers being left stranded.
  3. The curfew time limited movements of Buses who had been travelling 24hrs with over 10 buses travelling to popular destinations; due to curfew, they are now less than 5 Buses making only one route a day instead of two or three with full capacity
  4. Price being charged by taxis: some passengers failed to travel due to high costs being charged by the PSV. Most are appealing to government to regulate the price. This matter will be presented to cabinet on Monday.
  5. Failure by PSV to register in time. Most PSV vehicles are failing to meet the conditions for registrations: eg you find circumstances where:
    • Taxis have Expired PSV and Driving licences
    • The owners had no permanent employed driver yet the new registration require details of the driver of the vehicle
    • Some present forged documents
    • Some were misled not to register by some leaders

We therefore, regret any inconveniences that the passengers have faced.
Amongi Betty Ongom, MP [@KampalaMinister]

Minister for Kampala capital City and Metropolitan Affairs.

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