980 Tondeka passenger buses expected in September 2020

Thursday December 12 2019

Public transport. A Tondeka Bus in Kampala.

Public transport. A Tondeka Bus in Kampala. According to government, Ashok Leyland also committed in the second phase of the project, to transfer technical support to Uganda’s Kiira bus project to enable assembling of buses in the country. COURTESY PHOTO 

By Christine Kasemiire

If all formalities including infrastructure are concluded, the Tondeka Metro bus initiative first announced in July, is expected to ferry in 980 buses by September 2020.
The project which had since picked a tortoise pace picked momentum after a directive by President Museveni to the Finance Ministry to fast track the initiative.

Speaking to journalists in Kampala yesterday, State Minister for works, Katumba Wamala revealed that in nine months, the 90 passenger buses should have arrived in Uganda.
“980 buses are expected in the first phase. It is a good project that will generate income for not only Ashok Leyland, the manufacturer, but also government and municipalities where they operate as well as jobs,” he said explaining that the project is leveraging on rigorous stakeholder engagements to avoid a repeat of the catastrophes from predecessors such as the Pioneer Bus.

Mr Wamala was speaking on the sidelines of a closed door meeting held between officials from Tondeka, Ministry of Works and Transport, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and different municipalities in Kampala and Wakiso among others.
Mr Peter Kimbowa, chairman Tondeka, said the buses will not only create a clean air supply but also curtail traffic congestion in the city.
The buses will allow transportation around 25Km radius from the city centre including Kampala-Mukono through Jinja road, Kampala-Nsanji on Masaka Road, Kampala Buloba on Mityana Road, Kampala Wakiso on Hoima Road, Kampala-Matugga on Bombo Road, Kampala- Entebbe and Kampala-Ggaba Road.

The buses, which will only take prepaid payments made through a bus card that will grant access to passengers through swiping will charge Shs1,200 for a single route card, Shs3,500 for a daily travel card, Shs18,000 for a weekly card and Shs55,000 for a monthly travel card.
The collections, according to Mr Kimbowa will be dedicated towards repayment of the loan used to purchase the 980 buses which is expected to be completed in three years. But he declined to reveal the loan amount.
After three years, Tondeka will be opened to the public to acquire shares.

Concerns over Traffic mix

However, KCCA is concerned that a traffic mix of the buses along with present transporters such as taxis and motorcycles will not work.
“If the buses are to operate efficiently, then space has to be created for them through removal of matatus and bodabodas,” Engineer Andrew Kitaka, acting executive director KCCA, said urging Tondeka and Ashok Leyland to provide employment to operators.
In addition, he said vast sensitisation and bus-tailored infrastructure is key to implementing the project.