Kampala, Uganda | URN | Majority of the Bus Companies plying upcountry routes have increased transport fares from Kampala to their various destinations, a week to Christmas. The increment follows a significant surge in the number of travelers to up country destination and interstate cities of Juba, Kigali and Nairobi.
They say the Transport Licensing Board (TLC) has endorsed the changes to enable them recover rising cost of operations after authorizing them to make return journeys on the same day. The Operations Manager of Opit Travelers Bus Company who only identified himself as Moses, says those plying the Kampala – Gulu Route have increased fares by 5,000 on all destinations.
He says the new rates were agreed upon with the Transport Licensing Board under the Works and Transport Ministry on Friday 13th. The board allowed the increment on condition that they rest all their drivers and turn men who have operated one way during the return journey for all destinations above 300 Kilometers.
The new rates are meant to bridge losses companies are suffering because of returning half empty or empty vessels from up country destinations to Kampala as their numbers tumbled below their profit margins. The situation is similar on Kampala – Lira route with the maximum being charged peaking between Shillings 35,000 and 40,000 up from Shillings 25,000 and 30,000 for ordinary and executive buses respectively.
Along Kampala – Juba Road, Ali Kassim Andrua, the Booking Clerk of Trinity Coaches, says they charge Shillings 50,000 for Kampala – Gulu for their executive buses, up from Shillings 40,000 while Elegu is Shillings 75,000 and Juba Shillings 100,000.
On the Eastern Route, Y.Y Coaches has maintained its record of not increasing the fares while other companies have adopted new rates. Isaac Olanya, the Manager at Y.Y Coaches in Namayiba Bus Terminal, says the fare is stagnant at Shillings 25,000 from Kampala to Lira as other Companies charge between Shillings 30,000 and 40,000.
A booking clerk in Bakuli Bus Terminal for buses going to Western Uganda says the rates depend on the influx of passengers and availability of buses in the park. To Western Uganda, different Companies have introduced different fares in accordance to the number of travelers.
Gateway Bus Company in Bakuli Bus Terminal plying the Kampala – Mbarara route declined to comment on record saying their fare will go up with time on all routes they are operating. Kevin Ariho, the Operations Manager of Perfect Coaches told this publication that Companies plying the Western route are capitalizing on the festive season to recover from huge losses they suffered in November when traveler’s number tumbled.
In the same terminal, Global Coaches has increase fares to Mbarara to 40,000 shillings while Kalita Bus Company is charging the least. Kalita Bus Manager declined to comment but a booking clerk said they are charging between Shillings 15,000 and 40,000 on different stopovers.
Below is a summary of samples of transport fares on some of the routes as of Tuesday December 17, 2019 from Kampala to major regional cities and towns;
Kampala to Mbarara Shillings 30,000 from 15,000; Kampala to Rukungiri Shillings 40,000, from Shillings 35,000; Kampala to Kabale from Shillings 35,000 to nearly Shillings 75,000 with operators citing few customers and few vehicles on the route.
Kampala to Kisoro from Shillings 40,000 to 45,000; Kampala to Kasese from Shillings 30,000 to 40,000; Kampala- Fort Portal from 30,000 to between 35,000 and 45,000; Kampala to Bundibugyo from 30,000 to 40,000 and Kampala to Masindi is now at 25,000 shillings; Mbarara to Isahaka, Busenyi 40,000, Mbarara to Bwindi fluctuating between Shillings 70,000 and 80,000.
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Kampala to Pakwach and Nebbi 35,000, Arua 40,000, Koboko and Yumbe 45,000. Zawadi charges from Kampala to Adjumani 35,000 while to Yumbe 40,000 and Arua 30,000. Those plying on Eastern route, fares have increased by 10,000 shillings and now from Kampala to Mbale from 20,000 to 25000, Kampala to Soroti from 25,000 to 30,000 shillings.
Cross border buses have also increased fares from Kampala to Nairobi – Kenya from 65,000 to 70,000, Kampala to Mombasa 111,000/=, Kampala to Kigali – Rwanda from 50,000 to 55000; while to Juba is now 80,000.