Monday August 25 2014

Thousand stranded as transporters go on strike

Some of the stranded passengers at Namungoona

Some of the stranded passengers at Namungoona stage today morning after taxi drivers went on strike. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA  



An unusual road traffic flow without congestion and stranded commuters are scenes describing Kampala streets this morning as city transporters start their sit down strike.
Hundreds of people were on Monday morning seen standing alongside pavements waiting for an opportunity of any transport means to drop them to their places of destination. A few taxis and bodaboda motor cycles that are ferrying people have doubled the fares.

A survey done on the Kampala streets by Daily Monitor indicated that a journey that usually costs Shs5, 000 by a bodaboda motor cycle in normal days has now been increased to Shs10, 000. Taxi operators have also doubled their transport fares to or from the city center. For instance, Kawempe to Kampala City center normally costs shs2, 500 but this has been increased to shs5, 000.
Ms Joselyn Namirimu, a resident of Kyebando in Kawempe division told Daily Monitor that she had spent at least one hour at the stage waiting for any opportunity of moving taxi to take her to work but in vain.

Luwum street (down town Kampala) one of the

Luwum street (down town Kampala) one of the busiest streets with many taxis having no taxis in the morning. Photos by Abubaker Lubowa

“I arrived at the stage at 6:30am hoping I would reach workplace by 7am like I always do, but now its 7:30am I have not yet got a bodaboda to transport me. The ones I have tried to bargain with have all double their fares,” says Ms Namirimu, a teller with Stanbic bank.
A ride through streets of Bombo road, Kampala road, Jinja road, Katarima road, Nakawa market to Banda suburbs paints a picture of streets with mainly private vehicles, a few bodabodas and cyclists with thousands of commuters seizing every opportunity they can to reach their point of destination.

Unlike on other days, the few commuter taxis ferrying people were seen parking at banned stages, especially along Kampala road, with traffic police officers simply looking on. The whole of Monday morning hours, no KCCA enforcement officers or police officers could be could be seen on the street despite the fact that they had earlier on warned the taxi drivers against the strike.
The striking taxi operators insist they will not operate unless KCCA Executive Director, Jennifer Musisi meets them to address the alleged mistreatment by KCCA enforcement officers.
“Every driver who feels the pain of KCCA mistreatment should join our struggle for our freedom. We shall not cause chaos like police assumes. But we shall continue our sit down strike until a common ground is reached with the city authorities,” said Mr Abdallah Kitata, the ringleader of the strike.

“We are being over charged in taxes. We do not have elected management but KCCA claims it has a committee in place to mediate with us on its behalf. We need to have our own elected leadeLuwum street (down town Kampala) one of the

Luwum street (down town Kampala) one of the busiest streets with many taxis having no taxis in the morning. Photos by Abubaker Lubowa
rs,” said Mr Kitata.

Early this year, KCCA constituted a committee to mediate its operations with taxis in Kampala. The committee is called Taxi Parks/Stages Coordinating Committee (TAPSCOM). However, taxis drivers under their umbrella the National Union of Drivers, Cyclists and Allied workers (NUDCAWO) have disowned its operations.

KCCA spokesperson Peter Kaujju reportedly told local media that KCCA will not heed to any threats of taxi operators, maintaining that the city authority was clearly doing what it ought to do for the well being of the city.