What you need to know:
- The passages include all classes of vehicles and motorcycles that have passed on the three toll plazas of Entebbe Expressway.
At least 120,000 passages have been registered at the newly launched Entebbe express highway since last Saturday, up from 23,000 passages logged one week before the launch.
The passages include all types of classes of vehicles and motorcycles that have passed on the three toll plazas of Entebbe Expressway.
The Minister of Works and Transport, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, last Saturday launched the payment of road toll fees on the Kampala-Entebbe express highway.
The four-lane road comprises two road sections – a 36.94km-long section and a 12.68km-long link road.
The payment of toll fees started after preparation and engagement with the public on the process of operations and the fees structure for the different classes of vehicles.
Mr Charles Laurent Nicolas, the general manager of Egis Road Operations in Uganda, the company that was contracted to collect the road toll fees on behalf of the government, told Saturday Monitor yesterday that the company is happy with the progress so far.
“We were awarded this contract by Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) in order to operate and maintain this express highway for the next five years. Part of the contract is to collect the toll fees on behalf of the government. All the money collected is going directly to the bank on behalf of the government. So far so good, I am very satisfied with the way the opening was handled,” he said.
He, however, said like in other countries where they collect toll fees, they are experiencing some challenges where people reach the toll plaza and they claim they do not have money.
“We have always tried to talk to them about the different payment modes and some have accepted. Those who refuse completely, at all our toll plazas namely Kajjansi, Mpala and Busega, we tell them to turn around. But we have registered few incidents of that nature,” he said.
Egis is an international group whose global services range from infrastructure consulting to engineering operation. Egis has contracts in Mozambique, Ethiopia, the East African Community (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi) and the Indian Ocean.
For easier access to the road, electronic cards can be purchased at each point of sale on the toll plazas on the expressway. The new card comes with credit worth Shs20,000. The cards have discount options ranging from 10 percent for an easy pass, 50 percent for a weekly pass and to 70 percent for a monthly pass.
Egis spokesperson Joy Nabasa said: “Drivers are requested to reduce their speed to 20km/hr as they proceed to the toll gates and choose an open lane, topped by a green light sign,” she said.
Ms Nabasa said Egis has increased the lighting systems, especially on the toll plaza traffic lights and also increased traffic personnel regulators to control and direct drivers on the flow of vehicles.
“We are also establishing the weigh bridge for heavy loaded trucks, they will be having a different booth for payment after going through the weighing scale. This is to reduce the cost of damage on the road,” she said.
Ms Rehema Naturinda, a frequent user of the road, said the system is good, although ‘the charges are too high’.
Mr Aron Kintu, a resident of Mpala in Entebbe Municipality, says the toll rates are very high. He proposes that they should range from Shs1,000 to Shs10,000 depending on the class of the vehicle.
In May 2011, the government acquired a loan worth $350m (Shs1.2 trillion) from the Exim Bank of China to finance the construction of the 51.4km road.
According to the loan agreement, the loan repayment schedule runs from July 21, 2019 to January 21, 2032. In the 13-year repayment period, the government plans to pay $26.8m (Shs95b) a year.
Initially, the government had planned to repay the loan through revenues from the road toll on the expressway upon its completion. However, the road toll system had not been implemented and the road was opened to traffic in June 2018.
Class Amount per passage
Class 1 – Motorcycles (400cc) Shs3,000
Class 2 – Light Vehicles Shs5,000
Class 3 – Medium goods vehicles (2-3 axles) Shs10,000
Class 4 – Large goods vehicles and buses (4-5) Shs15,000
Class 5 – Large good vehicles (6 or More axles) Shs18,000