Taxi drivers working between Kampala and other parts of the country have vowed to use any means in their power including force to protect their routes, despite a move by KCCA to try to open up the routes to new players.
This comes after Kampala Capital City Authority and the Ministry of Works released guidelines which among other things, seek to register and allocate each taxi to a single route.
The confusion that has been created by the registration of taxis is likely to further complicate people’s movement following two and half months of lock down by the government to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One source who spoke to The Sunrise on condition of anonymity vowed that he and colleagues who operate on Mityana stage, shall fight all new faces of drivers that will be allocated to ply their route.
“I have operated this route for 34 years, how can someone new come from Byeyogerere or Mukono now and start to operate here. We shall wait for them in our place and teach them a lesson,” said the source.
Last week the Minister for Kampala Betty Amongi released tough guidelines which she said had been passed by cabinet with the aim of regulating public transport in the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area (GKMA). This includes Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono districts.
The outstanding aspect of the guidelines is to allocate a taxi to a single route and to take the management of the taxi business back into the management of the city authority.
The guidelines state that:
Beginning today 29th/5/2020, all taxi operators should report to KCCA to be assigned the parks/stages and routes where they will be operating.
2. After obtaining stage/route where you will operate, you will then report to Ministry of Works and Transport to obtain a Temporary Route chart valid until 31st Dec. 2020.
3. For now, the mandatory fees payable are: PSV license, renewal of driving permit if expired and third party insurance. All other government fees are payable by 31st Dec 2020 giving a grace period of six (6) months.
4. The six months grace period which expires 31st Dec 2020 is to allow public transport operators to obtain a permanent route chart, color code for GKMA and other user fees. Effective 1st January 2021, all vehicles that would have not complied shall not be permitted to operate in the GKMA.
5. Every Park will be assigned KCCA officials to manage.
Our source said that he had gone for the controversial registration, but that he found drivers who have been working in the city service routes (plying the central business district) applying for long routes going such as Luwero.
Sidelining people who have been managing stages in Kampala, as well as local government administrations in other districts also appears to be a key mistake that has created confusion in the ongoing registration of public service vehicles by KCCA and Ministry of Works.
The requirement that all taxis and drivers are supposed to be registered and allocated specific routes before they resume work on Thursday June 4, has deepened confusion as many do not know how to get to the registration points in the absence of public transport means in the first place.
Godfrey Ssebandeke, who plies the Kabulassoke-Kampala route says they cannot even come to Kampala to attempt to register because they do not have any means of getting to Kampala.
He pleaded with the government to relax these measures so that they are allowed to register in a period of six months.
The Sunrise tried in vain to speak to the spokesperson of KCCA Peter Kauju but he couldn’t pick our calls.