Taxi operators hike fares over fuel prices

Vehicles at the  Old Taxi Park in Kampala on April 19, 2022. PHOTO /SYLIVIA KATUSHABE

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Mr Rashid Mugenyi Sekandi, the chairperson UTOF, said they unanimously agreed to increase the price fares citing increased costs of operation

Taxi operators across the country have agreed to hike fares over rising fuel prices effective today. 
The Uganda Taxi Operators Federation (UTOF) during their meeting yesterday approved the increment in transport fare.
Mr Rashid Mugenyi Sekandi, the chairperson UTOF, said they unanimously agreed to increase the price fares citing increased costs of operation.

“We had thought of increasing the fare starting next week but members decided that it should be effected starting tomorrow (today),” Mr Sekandi said.
He added that passengers should not be surprised by the increased fare but to bear with them.
 “We have increased the transport fares but it is not much, for example town routes have increased by Shs500 for 20km-30km, Shs1,000 for 30km-80km, Shs2,000 for 80km-120km, then long routes have increased between 3,000 and Shs5,000 depending on the distance,” Mr Sekandi said.

In an April 21 document seen by this publication, UTOF notified the Ministry of Transport and Works about the changes made in the public transport service, expressing their concern about the daily increasing prices of fuel.
On Monday, Mr Sekandi said they had reached out to the Minister of Works and Transport, Gen Katumba Wamala, and he said on the issue of fuel the government has no alternative on the fuel crisis.
However, the chairperson of Kisenyi and Namayiba bus terminal, Mr Nelson Ssekandi, on Monday said the association of bus operators has called for an emergency meeting next week to discuss bus fares.

“After calling for that meeting they will engage the stake regulators and see what to do on the fares of the transport,” Mr Ssekandi said.
Mr Ssekandi also said fuel prices have forced the bus owners to park their buses.  He said at least 95 percent of the bus owners are willing to increase the fares.
“We heard that the taxi operators were to increase the fares by next week.  But we as bus operators, we have a body that governs (UBOWA) us. Before we increase the fares, we have to get the directors and bus operators to have a meeting first,” he said.

He added: “Buses that move across East Africa have increased. For example they have been charging Shs120,000 from Kampala to Nairobi now it is Shs180,000-Shs200,000.  For South Sudan, they have been charging Shs150,000, but now it is Shs200,000 because of fuel,” he noted
“Passengers cannot afford the new fares across East Africa, they have now resorted to carrying cargo,” Ssekandi said.
He also appealed to the government to revise the issues of prices because people are running away from business.
The Senior Public relations officer at the Ministry of Works and Transport, Ms Suzan Kataike, said the ministry has not yet endorsed the proposal of hiking transport fares.
“We requested them to submit their proposals. It is only after they have presented the proposals that the ministry will be able to assess and come up with an agreeable position,’’ Ms Kataike said.

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Responding to people’s call on the government to intervene, Ms Kataike said the ministry is waiting for the Cabinet decision on the escalating prices of commodities
“Last week, the President said Cabinet is going to sit and discuss the matter,’’ she said.