Govt revises transport fares as schools reopen

  Pupils of Arua Public Primary School during lunch time in 2019. Schools will open their doors to learners on Monday. PHOTO / FELIX WAROM OKELLO

What you need to know:

  •  The minister also revealed that curfew would be lifted during the school reporting period (one week) to allow parents move freely after dropping children to school.

The government, working with transport operators has announced new transport fares and lifted the curfew for one week to enable parents take learners back to schools next Monday. 

 Works and Transport Minister,  Gen Katumba Wamala, confirmed that all transport fares have been reduced since government already authorised transporters to carry full capacity on condition that all passengers and the crew members have masks and are fully vaccinated.  

 The minister who addressed a joint press briefing in Kampala yesterday explained that the engagements with public transport operators.

 “When we got to know the dates for re-opening the schools, all concerned parties felt that we needed to be better organised this time to prevent a recurrence of  those unfortunate events. We held a number of meetings with the Ministry of Education and Sports, police, Kampala Capital City Authority, District Education Officers and bus, taxi and omnibus operators and agreed on a plan to ensure that transportation of students to school would be efficient,” Gen Katumba said.

 Gen Katumba also disclosed that the Old Taxi Park that had been closed to allow rehabilitation work to take place, would be opened to ease transportation of learners.

However, the minister didn’t talk about the wrangles that had affected the planned reopening of the park. Several businessmen are claiming part of the park and some have petitioned court over the matter.

 The minister also revealed that curfew would be lifted during the school reporting period (one week) to allow parents move freely after dropping children to school.

 Rashid Ssekindi, the chairman of the Federation of Uganda Taxi Operators said: “‘We have reduced our fares because we are now carrying full capacity. However, due to increased fuel prices, we are compelled to increase a little in the fares to commensurate with the fuel prices and all stages are advised to stick to the agreed on price. We shall ensure school-going children are safely transported to their destinations.”

  Mr Ssekindi apologised to the public on behalf of other operators for overcharging travellers during the lockdown when they were required to carry half capacity of passengers.

 “I apologise for the confusion that saw some operators hike fares. Some operators over hiked the fares from Shs30,000 to Shs150,000 during the lockdown,” he said.

 He warned that the transport operators overcharging passengers would be arrested and prosecuted for violating the new guidelines. He didn’t state the law, the authorities intend to use to prosecute errant transport operators. 

Mr Ssekindi commended President Museveni for fully reopening the transport sector and urged Ugandans to go for vaccination. 

“We are grateful to President Museveni for allowing us to carrying full capacity of passengers as earlier. We reiterate our commitment to abide by the guidelines given regarding SOPs,” Mr Ssekindi said, adding that more than 90 percent of drivers are vaccinated. 

He promised that the transport body would ensure that the remaining percentage is vaccinated before opening of the schools on January, 10.  He also urged conductors and drivers to ensure that they have sanitisers in their vehicles and use it as require.

He said they should also ensure that all passengers in the vehicles properly put on masks.

 He also asked students to board vehicles from designated taxi and bus parks or terminals to avoid being conned.  All stages will be manned by guides who will direct students to their respective destinations.

 Mr Ssekandi advised parents to clearly label their children’s property with their names, school, class and if possible telephone numbers for easy identification in case they lose them. He also appealed to parents to escort their children to school.

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