Tuesday,October 20,2020 14:19 PM

Troubles in transport: Your opinions

By Admin

Added 6th June 2020 03:42 PM

Others believe public transport should not be managed privately in the first place.

Troubles in transport: Your opinions

Passengers spend night in New Taxi Park

Others believe public transport should not be managed privately in the first place.


On Friday, social media discussions centred on images of hundreds of people spending the night on the ground in the New  Taxi Park in Kampala.

With the lifting of public transport on June 4, many had made their way there in the hope of finding onward transport upcountry after enduring months under lockdown in the city on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, there was a dire shortage of public transport and when the 7:00 pm curfew time came around, many were left stranded. Some had sold their belongings to make the trip.

Some had paid exorbitant fares to get to the park and could not afford to go back where they had come from. Some were in tears.


This is not the first time the country has faced transport crises that have left the citizenry high and dry. We posted the picture below, showing Ugandans stuck without transportation in the Kampala taxi park in the 1970s and it drew a lot of comments.

The matter of transport

Lessons from history

Facebook commenter Mig Sukhoi said, "History repeats itself only if people don't understand what caused the former trek/tragedy/revolution."

Mwaule Peter added: "This should not be happening in 2020... but as they say history repeats itself... what next is coming?"

Ocheng Francis asked: "Instead of hiding behind the 1970's crisis to frame your question, why don't you bring out clearly what led to the collapsed of Public transport system in this country like the UTC, Uganda railway etc?"
Patrick Etteka thought one should not compare 1970 with 2020 "By then the economy was down," he said. "But now everything is possible. The govt has got more than enough money and vehicles to transport all those pple stranded in parks back to their villages."

Ellah Stellah had a hopeful take: "I have come to realise that there is no situation that is permanent. Kimala nekiggwa (it eventually ends)...just like in the didn't last for long though it has repeated itself eventually it will come to pass."

But what is the real problem?

Many of our audiences blamed the current challenges on a lack of foresight and good management. In their view, the COVID-19 pandemic had only illuminated fundamental problems with the transport system.

One of those who held this view was Josen Okello, who had this to say: "This one of 2020 is because of poor planning."­­

Angie Halverstadt added: "Corona is not to blame for the lack of public transport. The hastily rules put in place for this nightmare is to blame. Let's please get the story correct."

 Emma Ssebunya said: "Please leave corona out of this. If anything it's helped reset the button on poor leadership."

Daniel Faith Katende agreed: "Today it is not the public transport which is the issue neither the economy but the people who are leading this nation…May the Lord raise a new leadership which will consider justice, love, and have the fear of the LORD.

"Ours is a matter of poor planning," said Paul Oyara. "KCCA knew how big the task of registering drivers was going to be. Some government institutions/authorities are taking advantage of COVID-19 to advance their interests. I see no reason for this current transport challenge in Kampala."

Toby Agech Mutambo said, "The lockdown was imposed without a plan for its easing. Now we are just stumbling along with the numbers of corona  victims rising."

"Taxis are a critical enabler for business around Kampala, but many people take them for granted. There's tendency to neglect the foundational role they play. In the coming weeks, the value of the "organized chaos" of the taxis is going to be appreciated," said @tumwinevic.

So what could be or have been done differently?

Beyond the condemnation and complaints, some offered prescriptions.

Umar Hatuluba suggested: "Double fare if the distance of travel has doubled."

Alternative transport was the way forward, some said. Paul Nixon Bukoma for instance, said: "Resumption of the Uganda Railways Corporation would save the situation."

Others believe public transport should not be managed privately in the first place.

Said Twaha Mayanja: "In all seriously developing countries, public transport belongs and is controlled by the government.  And Ronald Richard Mayeku agreed. "Government could have taken over public transport in the early days with buses, this wouldn't be happening. The govt would have much control over the whole pre and post-COVID situation."

Is the lifting on public transport a good or bad thing?

The views were varied. @kerryfelly opined: " Public transport should resume but in a more organized manner because the sector also contributes to the country's GDP."  But @OtabongLawrenc7 disagreed: "Let public transport be called off completely until good measures of dealing and fighting with the deadly COVID19 pandemic is sought. Else the country is heading to a total turmoil, I really don't trust these drivers…they fetch people from Malaba."

For Hussain Katto, the language had its limits: "The time has come (for) the government to take 70% control of transport sector, bring back government buses if not so, the government to start fixing ye oluzungu mbonabona nalyo lwaki,government eveyo etandikenga okulambika ebisale kubuliruguudo tuleme kuba nga abali mu failed state."

On another matter

Beyond the crisis, others had a social observation to make.

Commenting on the picture of the stranded commuters in the 1970s, Denis Ayo Ssalongo commented: "They were so well behaved if they could even line up." Added @lokkki_xiv: "At least they used to queue back in the 70s."

KCCA speaks out 

"We have experienced a surge in the number of passengers who would like to travel upcountry because they are unable to continue living in the city due to economic impact of COVID 19 and the cost of living," said Betty Amongi,  Minister for Kampala Capital City.


Minister Betty Amongi (Picture by KCCA)

Considering that the curfew time has also interrupted the movements of Buses that had been travelling at night, KCCA has noted some passengers sleeping in the parks and the public transporters failing to meet demands of the passengers.

For the above reasons, a temporary waiver was made for public transporters plying upcountry routes who have not yet finalized registration to carry passengers for a period of three days up to Monday 8 June.

The waiver permit shall be authorized by the Resident City Commissioner (R.C.C) and the KCCA team shall issue the permit from the parks to any PSV vehicle ready to transport the passengers. 

Related articles

More From The Author

More From The Author