Taxis will come back after lockdown – Minister leaks plan to regulate public transport in Kampala

Kampala Old Taxi Park
Kampala Old Taxi Park

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Minister of Kampala and Metropolitan Affairs Betty Amongi has disputed as untrue, suggestions that taxis will have to wait longer to return to Kampala after the lockdown is lifted.

Amongi told journalists at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala on Tuesday 12th, May 2020 that the document that details a plan by the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to overhaul the transport sector was still a draft that is going to be discussed with all the relevant stakeholders before a common position is adopted.

She said on May 6, there was a stakeholders’ consultative meeting which brought together the Ministry of Works and Transport, Ministry of Finance, Uganda Police Force, the Lord Mayor, the Resident City Commissioner and the KCCA Speakers among others to discuss the technical report before it is sent to the government for consideration.

The meeting identified key challenges facing the sector which however will be addressed after consulting stakeholders. These key issues include; registering boda bodas and taxis operating in the City and creating for them a digital database to keep their records as well as gazetting parks, stages and routes for taxis and boda bodas.

Amongi said 66 stages and 137 routes have so far been gazetted for taxis in Kampala while 970 stages have been mapped out for boda bodas. The authorities are proposing to gazette another 585 stages in the five divisions during the first phase of the exercise.

KCCA is also thinking of introducing route numbers and colours for all the taxis in order to enhance order in the business. These taxis and boda bodas will also have driver/rider identification which shall include uniforms and badges for easy identification and tracking for both COVID-19 related tracing and controlling crime.

KCCA is also thinking about introducing scheduled bus services within circular routes of boda boda free zone within the Central Business District (CBD). For boda boda riders who are not registered with any digital company or association, KCCA will help them join existing ones or form new associations or register as individuals.

Amongi also said the rehabilitation of the Old Taxi Park is meant to make it more usable by both the travellers and taxi operators but not to expel them from the city.

The government contracted Stirling Civil Engineering Ltd and Kiru General Services Ltd to undertake the rehabilitation which according to Engineer Andrew Kitaka, the KCCA acting Executive Director will take three months.

The construction will include excavation and disposal of the existing material, installation of underground drainage lines, rock fill, construction of new foundation layers for the carpet and surfacing of the constructed layers with asphalt.

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The process will also involve marking the carpet to delineate areas for parking and for taxi and pedestrian movements, constructing the boundaries of the park to prevent mud from washing onto the carpet, putting up a lighting system and constructing waiting sheds for passengers. KCCA officials say the work will cost 10 billion Shillings.

The park will also have sanitary facilities such as toilets, an administration block and a police post.

According to Kitaka, in case the lockdown ends before the works are completed, KCCA shall provide alternative parking areas for the taxis that have been previously parking in the Old Taxi Park. He said they are in communication with other parks around Kampala to allow in other taxis as construction works go on.