It is YY again! Those were the words echoed by witnesses of Sunday’s accident.
The accident involved a YY coach and a commuter taxi at Busembatia on Tirinyi–Mbale road, which left 10 people dead.
The fleet of buses belonging to YY Coaches and Courier Services Company, owned by businessman Yunus Yusufu of Mbale Town, have for the past one week, been involved in three separate accidents, leaving 13 people dead and several others injured.
Police and passengers have attributed the accidents to recklessness and speeding.
Mr Wilson Wambaka, a frequent traveller, told Daily Monitor that the bus management needs to rein in their drivers.
“The drivers, especially those who work at night, drive recklessly and do not value the lives of passengers,” he said.
Mr Wambaka said some of the buses lack functional seatbelts that would minimise damage.
One of the survivors of the Iganga accident, only identified as Rebecca, said the bus had no first aid box.
“People were bleeding from outside the bus but no gauze, no bandage. Where do you keep your first aid box and what is in that box?” she asked.
The YY bus company, which started operations in 2008, has more than 50 buses plying different routes in eastern and northern parts of the country including Mbale-Kampala, Soroti-Kampala, Lira-Kampala, and Kampala-Apac - Lira.
The company took over the transport sector in the region following the collapse of the then major player, the Elgon Flyer.
The YY coaches operations manager, Mr Ali Gwaivu, said they would have a meeting with their drivers over these issues.
Mr Gwaivu, however, maintained that the company is committed to providing safe and reliable transport services.
Adding: “We are also getting six new buses to improve our services. YY coaches are going to rectify mistakes for the good of their customers.”
Mr Gwaivu, however, said it was wrong to blame YY buses for every accident. He said each of their buses has seatbelts but most customers do not want to use them.
But some of the employees of the bus company, who talked to Daily Monitor on condition of anonymity, attributed the accidents to thirst for money.
“Drivers are paid Shs50,000 per trip. So the more trips one makes the more money he earns in a day and that could make them drive very fast,” the source said.
Management, however, denied the allegations.
The Mbale District traffic police officer, Ms Juliet Kamahoro, said a bus is supposed to drive for four hours and 50 minutes from Kampala to Mbale but the drivers use less than that.
The manager of the bus company, Mr George Abazi, said drivers use the recommended time.
The United Bus Owners Association (a group of local bus owners) chairperson, Mr Nathan Byanyima, said they are tough on reckless drivers.
“As the chairperson of the association, I have not received such complaints of reckless driving by YY drivers, but I will ask the management to write a report about these accidents,” Mr Byanyima said.
However, Mbale Municipal Council deputy speaker Yasin Kawanguzi Webomba said YY buses should not be blamed solely for the accidents.
“Those accidents happen and it’s wrong to blame one party,” he said.
The Elgon regional police spokesperson, Mr Robert Tukei, said police are coming up with measures to address the rampant accidents in the region.