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Public transport reform long over due

By Vision Reporter

Added 21st June 2011 03:00 AM

KAMPALA Mayor Erias Lukwago has said the Uganda Taxi Operators and Drivers Association (UTODA) could soon lose the monopoly of its public transport management in the city if they do not improve their service.

KAMPALA Mayor Erias Lukwago has said the Uganda Taxi Operators and Drivers Association (UTODA) could soon lose the monopoly of its public transport management in the city if they do not improve their service.

UTODA has held the tender for over 20 years in spite of pressure from city leaders.

Lukwago blames UTODA for concentrating on revenue collection at the expense of long-term plans to modernise the city. UTODA is a limited liability company and the reason it has operated for so long with substandard service is that most taxis are owned by politicians or people closely associated with them.

UTODA emerged as the main public transport provider after collapse of the Uganda Transport Company (UTC) due to mismanagement. This left the country with no state bus company. Since then the country has been depending on the 14-seater taxis. And lately the problem has been aggravated by the emergency of boda bodas which have added to the confusion in the city.

There is dire need for a more rational and cost effective public transport system in Kampala and in the country.

The eternal traffic jams in the city are partly a result of too many vehicles on narrow roads. If there was a rational public transport system, it would not be necessary for so many people to drive private vehicles to the city centre. Traffic jams increase fuel consumption and the more vehicles we have, the more pollution we must expect.

When Nasser Sebaggala took the reins of power as mayor of Kampala he promised to reform the city transport system.

However, by the time he left, his transport reforms had not taken off. If UTODA must remain in business, it must work with the authorities to bring about the much desired public transport reforms.

Public transport reform long over due

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