By Savio Kyambadde
A few hours after Pioneer Easy Bus Company moved in to rescue stranded passengers after the Taxi drivers’ strike, Rift Valley Railways-Uganda has announced that it is starting its passenger services today.
In a statement from RVR Uganda the company indicates that passenger services start running today March 12th from Namanve and the railway station headquarters in Kampala.
RVR General Manager James Nyabale says plans were already underway to resume passenger services. He says they have refurbished the passenger coaches while waiting for permission from Government seeking to resume these services.
But before the official permission, Nyabale says government called RVR instantly seeking to know if they could help to avert public misery following the taxi drivers’ strike.
According to officials from RVR, this is a service is going to run between Monday and Friday and trains will depart from Namanve at 7am and 8am and will arrive in Kampala at 7:35am and 8:35am respectively.
The return journeys to Namanve from Kampala will be at 5pm and 6:30pm with tickets costing Shs1,500 for one way journey. The trains will take off from Namanve, make a first stop at Nambole, the second at Kireka, then Banda, Nakawa Interfreight, Nakawa MUBs and the final stop over at Meat Parkers before proceeding to the Railway Station Headquarters.
Meanwhile although the Pioneer Easy Bus Company operation had been halted by Parliament over irregularities in its contract, the Company’s Spokes person Connie Nankya says they are acting on orders to avert the crisis.
The buses that are ferrying passengers since morning have not been licensed and do not have registration numbers. This is at the time when the Parliament’s Committee on Public Service and Local Government prepares to present a report on the company’s irregularities in the contract later this week.
The strike by taxi drivers started this morning paralyzing passengers in most parts of the city. The drivers are protesting the Shs120,000 monthly charges by Kampala Capital City Authority which the authority maintains that it is reasonable.
The drivers are insisting that it should be reduced to Shs70,000 per month which KCCA has refused.
KCCA has however maintained that the fee is reasonable and will not be changed to the Shs70,000 as suggested by the drivers. Meanwhile KCCA has defended its move and decision to allow the buses to start operating saying it was only acting to avoid a crisis.
The authority’s spokesperson Peter Kaujju says this is only a temporary measure and will only continue until all the taxi drivers have cleared their arrears in monthly dues.
In another Development, Kampala Capital City law enforcers in operation with Traffic Police have impounded several taxis in different parts of the city over non payment of monthly fees. This operation covered areas of Bugolobi, Jinja Road, Kawempe and Entebbe Road where over 150 vehicles have been impounded towed to nearby Police Stations.