Transporters to hike fares after lockdown

Public transport. Travelers line up to board buses to western Uganda at Bakuli Bus Terminal in Kampala on March 22. Taxi operators have said they will hike transport fares following the President’s directive requiring them to carry half the passenger capacity. PHOTO BY DAVID LUBOWA

Taxi operators have said transport fares will have to rise once they resume operations, following the Presidents directive requiring them to carry half the capacity.

Mr Mustafa Mayambala, the chairperson of Uganda Transporters Development Agency (UTRADA), yesterday said carrying only the half capacity of the vehicles will automatically cause an increase in the transport fares to prevent them from incurring losses.

“We have already talked to the owners of the vehicles and warned them to expect less money from what they have been getting from their drivers daily,” Mr Mayambala said.

He added: “This is because when we increase the fares, we do not expect to get all the required passengers because many may decide to walk.”

Mr Yasin Ssematimba of Kampala Operational Taxi Stages Association said transport fares will be increased with consideration of the current situation since a number of people have not been working.

“We shall get difficulties but we shall get used [to it]. Initially, from Kampala to Mpigi, for instance, we used to charge Shs3,000 per head. However, when carrying half the number of passengers, we shall be forced to increase the fares slightly, may be by about Shs1,000,” he said.

Taxi owners will have to face reduction on the amount they collect daily given the few working hours and few passengers, as well as reduced routes.

President Museveni on Monday said public and private transport will resume around June 2, but after all Ugandans have been given facemasks to be supplied by government.

UTRADA said the President’s revelation has given them hope that they are getting back to business, unlike the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) officials, who he said are frustrating their work.

“We were worried following communication from the Minister of Kampala where she announced a number of new strict measures for taxi operators,” Mr Mayambala added.

KCCA and the Ministry of Works had indicated that they were planning to ban taxis from the city centre after for 42 days the lockdown for three weeks to allow them first register with the ministry before they are cleared to operate again.