Kampala, Uganda | URN | Pioneer Easy Bus Company is in fresh talks with Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) for expansion of its operations to most parts of Kampala.
The Company is eyeing a concession covering up to 80 per cent of Kampala city before the arrival of Tondeka Metro, a similar public transport service company expected to join the industry in March next year.
Joshua Zilyawulamu Sseligo, the Operations Manager Pioneer Easy Bus Company, says they would like to revamp the terms of the Private Public Partnership contract they signed with KCCA to improve their operations in the city.
Sseligo says they would like KCCA to implement the terms of the agreement and provide them the three essential contributions of designating separate lanes, guaranteeing exclusivity on the roads and parking spaces on the streets of the city.
Under the 2012 contract signed between Pioneer and KCCA, 522 buses were to be imported in a phased manner to replace taxis in the city. This fell flat on its face after KCCA failed to designate separate lanes for the buses as agreed.
Zilyawulamu says they are operating at 65 percent loss far below what they targeted in the initial agreement with a fleet of 40 buses. He says they are optimistic that increasing their fleet on the road will bring down the losses.
The Company plans to deploy 60 buses to serve the city over the Christmas festivities up from the current 40 on the road. Sseligo says most of the buses are hired by Churches, schools and individuals doing weddings and parties.
In September this year, Pioneer Easy Bus Company added the Kajjansi – Kampala route onto its three designated routes of Bweyogerere – Kampala, Namugongo – Kampala and Luzira – Kampala. It is targeting Gayaza – Kamapala; Kampala Northern By-pass among others.
Sseligo says most of the buses grounded at its parking yard in Namboole require spare parts, which should be imported from China. He says their monthly operation cost is in the range of Shillings 300 million.
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Majority of the buses have their wheels removed while others were pulled off the road due to their broken windscreens. An insider, who preferred anonymity, said Yutong buses are delicate, saying small potholes and bumps can crack their windscreens.
“And without their windscreens, the buses can’t be driven on the dusty Kampala roads because their exhaust point downwards to the ground. They will blow all the dust onto its passengers,” the source said.
Of late, the Company has ventured into advertisements of different brands including mobile money, money transfer services and DSTV among others to supplement its income.
Peter Kaujju, the KCCA Public Relations Officer promised to provide more details into the negotiations later. In 2012, Pioneer Easy Bus Company ran into trouble with URA over Shillings 6 Billion tax Arrears.
Mukono, Wakiso and Mpigi districts also demanded more than Shillings 900 Million in taxes from the company for using their local government facilities such as roads.