Kampala City could have a new transport system if a proposal tabled before Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) is approved.
Mr Peter Kimbowa, the chairperson of Tondeka Metro, a local transport company, yesterday said they plan to introduce about 980 buses in March 2020, as an initiative to reduce traffic jam.
Mr Kimbowa said the buses will initially ply Kampala- Mukono route on Jinja road; Kampala-Nsangi on Masaka Road, Kampala-Buloba on Mityana Road, Kampala-Wakiso on Hoima Road, Kampala-Matugga on Bombo Road; Kampala-Entebbe and Kampala-Ggaba.
“We have met with members of various committees and board to conclude the strategy and operations of this new initiative. This is an initiative to improve transport system in the city. We are addressing the problem of heavy traffic in the city and we are losing close to $800m (about Shs3 trillion) every year in traffic jams,” Mr Kimbowa said.
Addressing the media in Kampala yesterday, Mr Kimbowa said the 980 buses are part of the 3,000 buses expected in the country under the $200m (about Shs737.9b) project.
The chairperson of Kampala Operational Taxi Stages Association, Mr Yasin Ssematimba, said although the buses will affect taxi operations, it is time for Ugandans to accept the global change.
“That is why we have met the company to see how taxi operators’ interests are catered for because they have been transporting people to and from the city centre where buses are going to be operating,” he added.
Mr Ssematimba asked the bus firm to employ taxi operators working in the city centre since more than 6,000 taxis and 10,000 operators will be affected with this initiative.
“Many opportunities will be availed; repairing buses, managing buses, terminals, routes. Taxi operators should be employed since this is their area of knowledge and practice.”
Mr Ssematimba explained that the project will improve the mode of payment where electronic cards will be used.
Mr Mustafa Mayambala, the chairperson of Uganda Transport Development Agency (UTRADA), asked for protection of their interests of taxi operators so that they are not kicked out of business.
“We embrace this bus project to change on the state of transport in the city. We are also involved in every step to be able protect interests of taxi operators, to improve the quality of transport in Kampala and Uganda at large,” Mr Mayambala said, demanding that taxi operators be given first priority in employment.
The KCCA spokesperson, Mr Peter Kaujju, said Tondeka Metro bid is one of the many proposals that are being discussed to improve transport in the city but has not yet been endorsed.
“It is not yet at the level of approval but it is among the proposals that are being discussed to improve the capacity of transport in the city. So whoever brings in a proposal we accept,” Mr Kaujju said.
Mr Kaujju said there are existing buses that were give approval and are operating though with some operational challenges frustrating them to reduce traffic jam in the city.