Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT & URN | Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) have contracted Stirling Civil Engineering Ltd and Kiru General Services Ltd to rebuild the Old taxi park. Work starts Saturday May 9 and will run for three months.
Extensive work on the transport terminal used by at least 200,000 people daily, will see the facility get lighting and waiting sheds for passengers, sanitary facilities such as toilets, an administration block and a Police Post and also have a designated entry and exit points for both vehicles and pedestrians.
This will include access control for vehicles to avoid queuing on the surrounding roads and congestion within the park.
“Work will commence on 9th May 2020 and is expected to last three months.
In case the lockdown ends before the works are completed, KCCA shall provide alternative parking areas for the taxis as was with the construction of the New Taxi Park,” KCCA said in a statement on Friday.
The scope of work, KCCA said, will include excavation and disposal of the existing material, installation of underground drainage lines, rock fill, construction of new foundation layers for the carpet and surfacing of the constructed layers with tarmac.
The statement said the new carpet will have markings to delineate areas for parking and for taxi and pedestrian movements. The boundaries of the park will be retained properly to prevent mud from washing onto the carpet as has been the case.
Public transport operators have already protested the proposed guidelines for boda boda and taxi operations that are to be implemented as the Old taxi park is being rebuilt.
According to the proposals issued by the Minister for Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs Betty Amongi, all taxis in Kampala will register with Kampala Capital City Authority, pay fees to the Authority, undergo inspection every six months and also be subjected to a specific route chart that will be reviewed annually.
Amongi in a letter addressed to the Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago also indicated that taxis would stay off the road for an extra 42 days as they reorganize the sector and the park.
Amongi also says boda boda cyclists should operate under smart Boda associations like Safe Boda, Uber, and Bolt among others. These will also have specific areas to operate and not in every part of the town as it has been.
The government also wants to gazette boda boda stages and reduce their number which according to KCCA currently stands at 970.
However, some taxi operators say the government is using the lockdown to kick them out of Kampala.
Shafik Tera, a driver in Ddembe taxi park in Bwaise says while they do not oppose government programs, the timing is so bad. He says drivers are already struggling under the lockdown and wants the government to involve leaders of public transport operators.
The spokesperson of Kampala Operational Taxi Stages Association –KOTSA Moses Birungi says that government should consult them on how the public transport system should be organized rather than impose policies on them.
Suleiman Ssemanda, a boda boda cyclist in Kamwokya says they should not be compelled to operate under smart Boda associations because not all of them can afford smartphones.
He says that they should be allowed to set their fares.
Andrew Kitaka, the Acting Executive Director says the plan is to improve traffic flow in the city. He declined to give further details saying that Cabinet will discuss the matter next week.
Dr Amiin Kiggundu an urban planner at Makerere University says the plan by the government is valid but rushed. He says Kampala needs a transport system that involves transporting large numbers or passenger, for instance using buses.
Kiggundu however says that the government needs to involve stakeholders and not act hurriedly.
Kiggundu also says that the government needs to have a proper regulatory framework for public transport. He says under that, they should consolidate the regulator of public transport and this he suggests local councils.
Currently, the transport system is regulated under different agencies like the Ministry of Works and Transport, City or Local Councils, Transport Licencing Board and Police.