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Forty Gateway buses impounded

By Vision Reporter

Added 13th May 2009 03:00 AM

THE Police yesterday impounded dozens of buses belonging to Gateway Bus Company after two accidents in the past week, which killed 19 people.

THE Police yesterday impounded dozens of buses belonging to Gateway Bus Company after two accidents in the past week, which killed 19 people.

BY VISION REPORTERS

THE Police yesterday impounded dozens of buses belonging to Gateway Bus Company after two accidents in the past week, which killed 19 people.

Works state minister John Byabagambi told Parliament yesterday that the company’s operations had been suspended pending the screening of its drivers and the inspection of its fleet. Sources also told The New Vision that the Transport Licensing Board had written to the company suspending its operations.

An official of the company said 40 of their buses were grounded. Owned by Somali tycoon Sheireh Nasir, Gateway, which has a fleet of over 100 vehicles, is the largest bus company in the country. It also operates in Southern Sudan, Rwanda and Kenya.

A joint team of Police and Works officials carried out the inspection. Four of the nine buses inspected yesterday were not roadworthy.

They had cracked windscreens, empty first-aid boxes, no safety belts and faulty extinguishers and wipers.

The company has to make the required repairs before the drivers can resume plying their routes.

A total of 13 people died and 22 were injured when a speeding Gateway bus collided head-on with an omnibus on the Tirinyi highway in Iganga on Tuesday.

Another Gateway bus knocked a pick-up truck on the Mbarara-Kabale road on May 7, killing six people and injuring 20.

In the Mbarara accident, which the Police attributed to fatigue, the bus overturned at Kibega after the driver lost control.

In a third accident on Tuesday, involving a bus belonging to Uganda Grace Coaches, at least 11 people perished on the Juba-Kampala road, 100km from Nimule.

As fate would have it, another bus belonging to Jussy, overturned yesterday on the Mbarara-Masaka highway, killing one passenger and injuring 15 others.

At the request of Speaker Edward Ssekandi, the House yesterday observed a moment of silence for the victims of the accidents.

The Government announced that the inspection of buses would roll out to other companies. It also said regular inspection of all vehicles was in the offing, with several companies having been invited to send in bids.

State Minister for Internal Affairs Matia Kasaija promised that the Government and the Police would work tirelessly to ensure that drivers comply with the speed limits, calling the carnage on Uganda’s roads “entirely unacceptable”.

He said the Police had mainly concentrated on the Kampala-Gulu road and the Masaka-Mbarara highway which in the past had the highest number of accidents.

The completion of the Iganga-Bigiri road, he noted, had made the eastern route also vulnerable.

His colleague of Works noted that bus drivers had resorted to starting their journeys early in the morning to avoid traffic Police.

Forty Gateway buses impounded

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