By Juliet Waiswa
Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) on Saturday blocked all commuter taxis that have been using the Cooper Complex taxi park in downtown Kampala, in ongoing efforts to decongest the city.
The move caught most drivers and travelers by surprise as KCCA enforcement officers moved into action backed by police officers.
KCCA says the park, located near the Old Taxi Park, was set up illegally and was not gazetted.
Travellers on Saturday had not expected to be told to shift to another city park, and some were left stranded.
“KCCA should have warned us in advance. I now have to look for the new stage. They have not even left anyone to guide us,” a traveller plying the Gaba route said.
Another passenger carrying heavy luggage blamed KCCA for causing her more expenses as she had to use a boda-boda (motorcycle) to Usafi Park, about a mile away.
Heaps of soil blocked both the entrance and the exit of the park. A handful of taxi touts remained around the park and would direct commuters to move to the newly constructed Usafi Park,
Yasin Sematimba, the chairperson of the taxi park stage co-coordinating committee, said the closed park has been the central point for Kansanga, Buziga, Muyenga and Gaba-plying taxis.
Sematimba said the taxis will now occupy the recently constructed park which was built alongside Usafi market.
Passengers travelling to Kasanga, Kabalagala, Gaba, Didis World, Kampala University, Bunga-Soya are the ones affected.
The chairman however emphasized that KCCA wrote to the management of Copper Complex in July last year, telling them to relocate to Usafi Park.
According to KCCA assistant spokesperson, Robert Kalumba, this latest move by KCCA is to have the city decongested.
He said that the city authority had written to the managers of the park, informing them that they should notify the users about the developments in the park.
Kalumba said KCCA plans to close all other illegal commuter taxi parks and places where taxis are in the city centre.
“KCCA is going to remove all small taxi parks which are not in gazetted areas. The authority wants to decongest the city,” he said.
“The authority received complaints from the public that some of these commuter taxis park in front of their shops, blocking their businesses.