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Taxi loading fees abolished again

By Vision Reporter

Added 2nd June 2008 03:00 AM

TAXI loading fees imposed by the Uganda Taxi Operators and Drivers Association (UTODA) have been abolished again. The loading fees, which amount to the fares of four passengers per 14-seater taxi, were abolished effective June 1 by the local government state minister, Hope Mwesigye.

TAXI loading fees imposed by the Uganda Taxi Operators and Drivers Association (UTODA) have been abolished again. The loading fees, which amount to the fares of four passengers per 14-seater taxi, were abolished effective June 1 by the local government state minister, Hope Mwesigye.

By Mikaili Sseppuya

TAXI loading fees imposed by the Uganda Taxi Operators and Drivers Association (UTODA) have been abolished again. The loading fees, which amount to the fares of four passengers per 14-seater taxi, were abolished effective June 1 by the local government state minister, Hope Mwesigye.

The May 28 letter from Mwesigye was was read to over 100 drivers at Nakivubo Blue Primary School in Kampala by the spokesman of the Commercial Taxis and Transporters Development Association, John Kitasimbwa.

Kitasimbwa said: “Kampala City Council (KCC) should start working with the Police to stop collection of loading fees from all stages in the taxi parks from June 1.”

“Anybody collecting those fees will be breaking the law. It is those loading fees that have kept taxi drivers poor all these years and when abolished, drivers should be able to buy their own vehicles and build their own houses,” he said.

Kitasimbwa said he was surprised that 30,000 taxi drivers should be kept in fear, poverty and bondage by a group of only seven owners of UTODA.

Badru Nyenje, the spokesman of the Uganda Passengers Protection Association, said UTODA’s tender was from KCC so it should heed the orders.

“UTODA holds the tender for management of the taxis from KCC. Under this, it can only legally collect a monthly sticker charge of sh20,000 per vehicle as well as the sh4,500 daily fees, not the unreceipted loading fees,” Nyenje said.

Previous efforts by government officials or the courts to stop UTODA from collecting the fees failed because KCC, which gave UTODA the tender, did not enforce the order and neither did the Government organs.

UTODA is said to be in arrears to KCC but it is alleged that KCC officials are unwilling to terminate the contracts because they benefit from under-the-table payments from UTODA.

The so called welfare payments have been a source of conflict between the drivers and UTODA they have never consented.

Last week, a taxi driver who refused to pay loading fees was beaten up by thugs allegedly hired by UTODA.

The driver was beaten up by Kanyamas in the New Taxi Park and told to never go back there.

UTODA insists the loading fees are voluntary.

However, the drivers say they are collected by force through ‘strong arm tactics’ by thugs allegedly hired by UTODA. The thugs include body builders from downtown.

The drivers insist UTODA is a company limited by shares owned by seven people.

The drivers say UTODA managers have always said they are with the Government and are making payments to top ‘officials’ for protection.

UTODA has also been accused of illegally overloading all taxis getting passengers outside Kampala’s two main parks by insisting on more than the three passengers per row, which results into unnecessary delays for passengers going upcountry.

Taxi loading fees abolished again

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