HomeSocialHigh transport fairs worry passengers ahead of festival season.

High transport fairs worry passengers ahead of festival season.

Joshua Nahamya,

Mbarara.

Travelers in Mbarara, Kabale, Bushenyi, Kabale, and the rest of the country are finding it hard to reach their final destination over the increasing transport fairs on road.

This started when Winston Katushabe, the commissioner in charge of transport, regulation, and safety, warned taxi operators in Mbarara to stop humiliating travelers as Christmas eve draws nearer.

According to Katushabe, the taxi industry should have uniform route charges to avoid cheating passengers during the festive season.

“I know taxi owners in the public transport have got some challenges during Covid19 lockdown but as we are entering into a festive season don’t increase the prices so much because the moment you increase also passengers will fear to travel,” He said

Like in Kampala we asked taxi owners that if they want to make changes in charges, they should bring it and we discuss it with the ministry so that we can publish such rates Katushabe adds.

“This should be the role of the taxi operators such that people shouldn’t be cheated so we don’t want anybody to take advantage because we want to ensure that people pass through the festive season successfully

However, a day after his communication, bus operators in Kampala under their umbrella, United Bus Owners Association Ltd (UBOA), notified all passengers about an increase in transport charges.

Current transport charges from Mbarara

This has so far trended in other parts of the country where most tax operators have doubled the transport charges.

Solomon Nsimire, the Acting Chairman of UBOA conformed that an increase has come as a result of skyrocketing fuel prices in Uganda.

“We have found that the money we invest in the public transport industry is a lot compared to what we earn yet we have bank loans, and we also need to service the vehicles to remain in a stable mechanical condition. This is a reason as to why we’ve informed our esteemed customers that the prices have now changed”

From Kampala to Mbarara it’s now Shs 40,000 while a person traveling from Kampala to Kisoro it’s now Shs 80,000 shooting from 50000.

Speaking to Cosmas Atukwatse, a resident of Namungona Kampala who was traveling to his home village in Igorora Ibanda on Wednesday got shocked to find that transport charges have increased from Shs 30,000 to 50,000 before the festive season.

He is worried that by Christmas the charges will have a shoot to around 100,000 shillings.

Also, Brian Tukamushaba, a resident of IsingIro district who is stuck in Kampala, says his chances of celebrating Christmas with the family members have declined because of early increased transport fairs on road.

“I was planning to travel by 16th December but if transport fairs continue to shoot like this, definitely I will miss to celebrate it with my family members in Bukanga Isingiro”. He said

The situation is not fine with us so I am requesting the top officials in government to intervene before the situation worsens says Tukamushaba

Away from Kampala, transport charges have also shot high in the western region.

Aaron Kwikiriza, the secretary for publicity, South-Western Union Tax Transporters Association (SWTODA) explained that transport fairs will continue to shoot high if the fuel prices and other services remain high.

“There is no way you will tell the driver or conductor to reduce on the transport charges when a liter of fuel is at Shs 5000.

We buy fuel, buy spare parts and pay taxes oil was also increased; motor tires were increased so we have found the unconducive situation in doing this business. If the government can reduce the taxes, we can also remain to negotiate with our passengers Hajj Akim Rwomushana, vice-chairperson SWTODA added

“We need a stipulated tax which favours us to also conduct our business because we are also pushed on the wall when we don’t have where to run to” Rwomushana explained

The Minister of Works and transport Gen Edward Katumba Wamala insists that no agreed charges between the ministry and bus owners.

“We have asked the bus owners to write a proposal and tell us why they intend to increase the transport fairs because as far as I know, there are no charges we have agreed upon”

The commissioner also warned public transport dealers to be security cautious as they are alleged to be the next target by the terrorists.

“Terrorism is now a threat and by look of things they are now targeting the public transport so whether it’s a bus or a lorry each vehicle must buy a metal detector to check passengers. And all buses from Kampala have to be checked thoroughly because terrorists now want to start boarding from the way after studying strict measures in the parks” says Katushabe

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