Uganda’s public transport reopens, passengers stranded as few commuter taxis return

Passengers stranded in new taxi park
Passengers stranded in new taxi park waiting for commuter taxis taking them to their destinations after public transport was opened on Thursday 4th, June 2020t.

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Several passengers were on Thursday 4th, June 2020 morning left stranded as public transport resumed two months after PSVs were thrown off the roads as the country made attempts to contain the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The ban was lifted earlier this week and according to President Yoweri Museveni, public vehicles would be allowed back effective today, June 4, 2020, provided they carry only half of their normal capacity. It’s also mandatory for anyone travelling in a public vehicle to wear a face mask including the driver and conductor.

But as they returned, scores of passengers remained stranded on the roadside as only a few taxis plied the various routes around. The situation was almost similar in parts of Gayaza, Bukoto, Ntinda, Wandegeya and Kamwokya, in the outskirts of the city.

Joan Birungi, a resident of Kamwokya who was heading to town for work says she had spent two hours at the stage waiting for a taxi in vain. Birungi says that she was previously walking to work or being transported by her boss.

Keziron Mulindwa, who has been moving every day from Kamwokya to Rubaga says that he had spent over one hour at the Kamwokya stage waiting for the taxi. Mulindwa says that he was planning to walk to work due to a shortage of the taxis.

Ronald Kironde a taxi owner says that he was excited with the reopening of public transport but was frustrated by delays to register his vehicle. He says that the call for registration was on short notice.

By Wednesday 3rd, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) had registered 500 taxis.

Read Also: Uganda police warns taxi drivers against flouting rules after lockdown

Passengers travelling upcountry who had gone to the New and Old taxi park as early as 6am to get taxis also remained stranded until 10am. Joel Mugabi an employee with National Water and Sewerage Cooperation says he has spent more than an hour waiting for the taxi. Mugabe says he wants to travel immediately to meet his sick family in Jinja.

At the New Taxi Park, Silver Mugabi, a taxi driver at the Jinja Stage says that many of his colleagues could not leave their homes before 6:30 am. Mugabe wants the government to relax the curfew hours but also allow taxis to operate as they undertake registration.

Taxi operators on Tuesday increased the transport fares following the Presidents directive requiring them to carry half the capacity.