Transport fares shoot up as taxis, buses return to roads
Transport fares across the country have gone up following the resumption of public transport after a 42-day lockdown.
In his address on Friday, President Museveni allowed public transport to resume, with vehicles operating at half capacity.
Mr Museveni also warned that any violation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) by the public transporters would lead to suspension.
News reaching vomuhabura.com shows that in the Kampala Metropolitan area, By 6am yesterday, people in areas that include Kampala, Mukono and Wakiso had started pouring on roads to board taxis, buses and boda bodas to their respective workplaces.
However, they were met with a sharp increase in the fares, leaving many stranded.
For instance, taxi fares from Wakiso Town to the city centre were increased to Shs5,000, up from Shs4,000 before the lockdown was imposed.
Those who opted for boda bodas from Wakiso to the city centre had to part with Shs20,000, up from Shs15,000.
Those from Nansana Town to the city centre parted with Shs4,000, up from Shs3,000. Before Covid-19, taxi operators used to charge between Shs1,500 and Shs2,000 from Nansana to the city centre.
Travellers on Kampala-Entebbe route by taxi parted with Shs7,000, up from Shs6,000, while those from Gayaza to the city centre parted with Shs6,000 up from Shs5,000 before the second lockdown. Previously, travellers paid only Shs2,500 from Gayaza to the city centre.
However, in Greater Masaka area, the taxi operators decided not to raise the fares.
According to Mr Bashir Mawanda, the chairperson of Masaka Taxi And Coaster Drivers Association, travelling to Masaka from Kampala costs Shs20,000 as it was the case before the lockdown.
Bizmarkan Buses that ply Kabale – Kisoro route to Kampala are charging between 70,000 and 80,000
In Kabale District, bus operators increased the fare to Mbarara from Shs15,000 to Shs30,000, and that to Kampala from Shs30,000 to Shs60,000. From Kabale to Masaka by bus now costs Shs40,000, up from Shs20,000
The chairperson of Kabale Bus Park Operators Association, Mr Henry Tindyebwa, said they have hiked the fares in order to meet costs.
“The transport fares have been increased in order to meet fuel and other related costs but also due to the fact that we are operating at half capacity,” Mr Tindyebwa said.
Mr Justus Tukamushaba, the association secretary, said transport fares to the surrounding districts of Rubanda, Kisoro, Kanungu, Ntungamo and Rukungiri have doubled. “This is to enable us make profits and meet costs such as fuel and vehicle repair,” he said.
In Fort Portal City, Mr Ivan Mwesige of Kat Transporters said from Fort Portal to Mbarara, they now charge Shs40,000, up from Shs30,000.
Mr Mwesige said from Fort Portal to Ibanda District, the fare has increased to Shs30,000, up from Shs20,000.
From Ntoroko to Bundibugyo, it is now Shs8,000, up from Shs6,000, while transport from Fort Portal to Bundibugyo is Shs15,000, from Shs10,000.
In Masindi District, Mr Nathan Kiiza, the supervisor of Link Bus services, said they have maintained the fare of Shs25,000 to Kampala. The transport fare from Fort Portal to Kasese has also been maintained at Shs15,000.
In Mbarara, Mr Adam Ssemugabi, the director of Kingo buses, said transport fares from Ishaka to Kampala have increased to Shs60,000, from Shs30,000.
Mr Joseph Asiimwe, a taxi driver on Mbarara –Ishaka-Kasese route, said they are charging Shs35,000, up from Shs25,000.
In Tororo, the transport fares have also shot up. From Malaba to Kampala, one has to pay Shs30,000, up from Shs25,000, and transport from Malaba to Mbale is Shs12,000, from Shs7,000.
Mr James Mugeni, a taxi driver, said they have increased the transport from Tororo to Kampala to Shs30,000, up from Shs25,000. In Mbale, Mr Bashir Mabanja, the publicity secretary of Mbale Taxi Drivers, Conductors and Owners Sacco, said they have maintained the fares as before the second lockdown.
He said transport from Mbale to Kampala is Shs30,000 and Shs20,000 from Mbale to Soroti as well to Kapchorwa.
In Lira, the public transport operators have maintained the fares.
The spokesperson for Lira Urban Transporters Association (LUTA), Mr Bernard Anyeko Matsanga, said they met all managers and directors of all the bus companies and agreed to maintain the fares.
The transport fare from Lira to Kampala is Shs40,000; Lira to Gulu is Shs25,000; Lira to Soroti is Shs25,000, Lira to Mbale is Shs30,000 while Lira to Kotido is Shs40,000.
In Pader, the transport fares have not also been increased, according to Mr George Mukili, the Pader MK Bus branch manager.
In Gulu, taxi and bus operators have also maintained transport fares. The fares from Gulu to Kampala, Kigumba, Bweyale, Karuma, ELegu and Lira have been maintained at Shs40,000, Shs30,000, Shs25,000, Shs20,000, Shs30,000 and Shs25,000, respectively.
Mr Dan Ogeri, a driver plying the Gulu-Nimule route, said there were few passengers on the road.