Acholi taxi operators carry passengers at full capacity, double fares

Acholi transport operators carry passengers at full capacity, double fares
Commuter taxis in Kampala, Uganda. Courtesy Photo

Amuru, Uganda | URN | Taxi operators in parts of Acholi sub-region in Northern Uganda have decided to more than double their daily profits, raising the concern of travelers over the exorbitant transport fares being charged on the various routes in the sub-region.

Last year, government restricted transport operators including buses and taxis to carrying passengers at half capacity due to COVID-19.

But now taxis especially in Amuru district have doubled the number of passengers carried and doubled fares when they were operating at half capacity.

Richard Rubangakene, a resident of Pagoro in Lamogi sub county says ever since restrictions were lifted, taxis started carrying people at full capacity at the price they were carrying people at during half capacity.

According to Rubangakene, transport from Gulu to Amuru sub county and town which used to cost 10,000 Shillings has increased to as high as 20,000 Shillings.

Information obtained by our reporter also indicates that transport fares from Gulu to Pabbo has increased from 5,000 to 10,000, Gulu to Atiak from 10,000 to 20,000, even after restrictions on transport were relaxed.

Susan Aber, a resident of Pawel in Pogo says that the transporters have been minting all the money from them especially during desperate conditions of sicknesses and other emergencies.

But one of the taxi operators who spoke on condition of anonymity says they are normally charged exorbitantly by the traffic police officers deployed along the routes claiming they are just transferring the illegal police charges to the passengers, an obviously exaggerated claim.

Geoffrey Oceng Osborn, the Resident District Commissioner Amuru describes the public transport fares now as simply extortionist.

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The RDC says he has received several complaints from travelers in the district about the exorbitant charges by mostly taxi operators.

According to Oceng, starting Wednesday 24, February 2021, his team is embarking on a two-week operation in the taxi transport sub sector to ascertain why operators have not reduced the fares even when they are carrying people at full capacity and yet fuel prices have not been increased.

Amuru district was among the most hit districts by coronavirus registering over 30% of the Uganda COVID-19 cases majorly from Elegu border post.