Following the relaxation of the COVID-19 lockdown imposed by the government on Uganda, commercial transport activities returned to the country, but commuters had to pay higher fares.
President Yoweri Museveni, while announcing the relaxation of the restrictions last Friday, directed taxis and buses to resume from Monday, August 2, but at half capacity.
The president warned the commercial transporters that violating standard operating procedures (SOPs) would lead to suspension.
In Kampala, Uganda’s capital, many commuters were left stranded due to the hike in transport fares. Taxi fares in the Kampala Metropolitan area, which includes Kampala, Mukono and Wakiso towns, had gone up by at least 25%.
From Wakiso to the city centre, taxis charged Shs5,000 up from Shs4,000 before the 42-day lockdown, while boda bodas – commercial motorcycles and bicycles – increased their fares from Shs15,000 to Shs20,000 for the same trip.
Similarly from Nansana Town to the city centre commuters paid between Shs3,000 and Shs4,000 for taxi trips. Before the restrictions on movement taxi operators charged between Shs1,500 and Shs2,000.
A journey from Entebbe to Kampala city centre rose from Shs6,000 to Shs7,000; Gayaza to the city centre rose from Shs2,500 to Shs6,000 up from Shs5,000.
Taxi operators said they were overwhelmed by the big number of travellers.
“We are currently operating at 50 per cent as directed by the President, but when the demand is high, we are also forced to slightly increase the fares so that we can meet other expenses. We rarely increase transport fares during normal situations,” Justus Masembe, a taxi driver, said.
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