The Ministry of Works and Transport is set to meet transport operators in a bid to regulate unnecessary hikes in public transport fares ahead of the festive season.
Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala said his Ministry will convene a meeting with leaders of the Uganda Taxi and Drivers Association – UTODA, the Federation of Taxi Operators – UTOF, and the Uganda Bus Drivers and Allied Association early next week to generate consensus on the fares.
On Wednesday, Members of Parliament raised concerns over extremely exorbitant and exploitative public transport fares by the motorists plying the Northern, West Nile, Eastern, and Western routes of Uganda ahead of the Christmas season weighing down on travelers.
The Chairperson of the Bus Drivers and Owners Association, Nathan Byanyima, who also doubles as the Bukanga County Member of Parliament justified high fares charged by buses on the account that after transporting passengers, the fleets return to Kampala empty thus necessitating cost management.
But Speaker Anita Among refuted the justification, noting that bus operators should be considerate and not make a fortune out of vulnerable passengers in the wake of hard economic times.
Gen. Katuma observed the proposed meeting which will take place next week on a day yet to be communicated will harmonize the fears about public transport fares, over-speeding, and safety measures to avert accidents during the festive season.
According to the Traffic Police report, over 70 people lost their lives during Christmas festive week in 2022. The deaths were attributed to overspeeding, drink driving, and carelessness among others.
In some of the bus terminals visited by our reporter, transport fares had slightly increased.
At Namayiba or Bombo Road bus terminals, buses from Kampala to Gulu City the passengers are charged 35,000 up from 30,000 shillings, Kitgum 45,000 from 40,000 Shillings, and to Kaabong the fares are 60,000 Shillings from 55,000 Shillings.
At Kisenyi Bus Terminal, fares to Kasese, Fort Portal, Bundibugyo, and Hoima had not been increased.