Uganda’s public transport operators hike fares ahead of festivities

Transport fares hiked on major upcountry routes ahead of Christmas

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Uganda’s public transport operators have hiked their fares as the Christmas festivities draws closer, citing increased fuel and spare part prices.

This comes weeks after the Works and Transport Minister, General Edward Katumba Wamala rejected earlier attempts by the bus operators under Uganda Bus Owners Association (UBOA) to increase the transport fares by between Shillings 5,000 and 10,000.

Following the easing of the nationwide lockdown, transporters increased their fares to compensate for the loss of some travelers since they were required to carry half capacity. It is on the revised fare, that the transporters have now increased between Shillings 5000 and 10,000.

For example, prior to the lockdown, bus operators plying the Mbale-Kampala route would charge between Shillings 18,000 and Shillings 20,000. Following the introduction of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), the operators revised the fares from Shillings 20,000 to Shillings 35,000. However, they have now hiked the fares to Shillings 40,000.

Saturday Muhwezi, the manager of Kisenyi bus terminal justifies the increment by the public transport operators, saying it is meant to cater for the hiked fuel prices.

According to Muhwezi, business is low because many people moved to the villages due to the lockdown and have never returned to the city. He reveals that there is only 15 per cent passenger flow compared to the period prior to the lockdown where the operators could hire buses from the government to carry excess travelers during Christmas festivities.

James Ogwang, the operations manager YY Coaches and Courier Services, says that unlike the past season, they have also increased fares to all destinations by Shillings 5,000 because of increased fuel prices.

James Okuku, the manager of Divine coaches, says that they increased the fares between Shillings 5,000 and 10,000 in line with a directive from Uganda Bus Owners Association (UBOA). He however says that they are currently transporting more cargo compared to passengers because of the school closure.

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Goffery Mawadri from Nile Star Trade Link says that they have increased the fares from Kampala to Arua from Shillings 60,000 to Shillings 70,000 and Kampala to Gulu from Shillings 40,000 to Shillings 50,000. He attributes the increment to high fuel and maintenance costs for their coaches.

Apollo Bashambo, a cashier of Baby Coaches along Bombo road says that they have also hiked their fares from Kampala to Yumbe from Shillings 60,000 to 70,000, Kampala to Koboko Shillings 55,000 to 60,000 and Kampala-Paida Shillings 40,000 to 50,000.

Christopher Muyise, a driver at the Fort Portal stage in the new taxi park says that they have increased the fares from Kampala to Fort Portal from Shillings 50,000 to 60,000.

Twaha Ssali, a driver at Masaka costa stage in the new taxi park says due to the limited number of travelers, they have not revised their fares. They are charging Shillings 20,000 from Kampala to Masaka.

Rosebud Nambayo, who was traveling to Kadama in Kibuku district, said the increased transport fare will leave them without money since businesses are down.