Kampala, Uganda | URN | The operations of Teso Coaches have drastically reduced. No bus from Teso Coach Company has been seen on the road for the last two weeks, according passengers in Soroti. The company has mainly been operating the Moroto and Soroti-Kampala routes.
On many occasions, the buses would break down, leaving passengers stranded. Teso Coaches joined the transport industry after Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels invaded Teso and torched a bus belonging to Gateway in Atirir, along Soroti- Lira Road with several passengers.
Gateway then, minimized its operations in the area, prompting Faustino Etilu, the proprietor of Teso Coach Services to venture into the transport business. Although this was a huge sigh of relief for Teso, the company later got involved in series of accidents that cost lives forcing passengers to shun it.
In June 2009, police impounded six Teso Coach Buses following a spate of accidents. In 2011, Uganda Transport Licensing Board suspended the licenses of Teso Coach and Kasamba after fatal accidents that claimed four people.
The company has since been entangled in several operational dilemmas, forcing it to suspend its operations. Peter Adakun, a broker at Moroto Stage in Soroti, says the company bus hasn’t been seen on the road for the last three weeks.
He explains that the buses were not well maintained, in most cases forcing customers to pay double fair to reach their destinations. “People went back to Gateway and others resorted to small cars like Noah and taxis since Teso Coach was not reliable. We hope that they return some day in a better shape,” he said.
Faustino Etilu, the proprietor Teso Coaches told this publication that the buses were taken for repair and will return on the road.
Gateway Buses that have been operating mainly in Karamoja and Acholi for their North- Eastern route has resumed full operations in Soroti. Several new buses with new branding from Gateway Bus Company are seen at almost all stages in Soroti.
The company has slashed transport fares forcing other companies like YY Coaches, Kakise and Goglon to adjust their fares so as to compete for customers. By the time of filing this story, Gateway was charging Shillings 20,000 to Kampala, a drop from Shillings 25,000 charged by other buses. When this publication checked with YY, the company was ready for adjustment on individual basis.
Mustafa Ali, the assistant Manager, Gateway Bus Company in Soroti, says they are re-establishing their routes in Eastern Uganda. He notes that much as Gateway was in Soroti and other places as early as 1983, their operations were minimized due to the competition that ensued.