Covid-19: Ministers & taxi operators meet, Taxis will carry 10 people

Ministers and taxi operators in Kampala met on Tuesday to discuss the latest changes in the public transport system.

The meeting coincided with a list that came out Tuesday morning showing taxi operators had hiked fares.

However, Mustafa Mayambala, the chairperson of Uganda Transport Development Agency (UTRADA), an association of taxi drivers, says they haven’t decided on fares.

“Those who did that, we don’t know them,” Mayambala said, referring to the list of fares.

“We haven’t sat to decide on fares.”

In a Tuesday evening phone interview, Mayambala said they met ministers and other government agencies today, and the issue of transport costs was part of the discussion.

“We met with ministers and that’s one of the issues we discussed,” he said.

“We didn’t decide on fares… we left it to ministers who said they need time to discuss it.”

Mustafa Mayambala says they also learnt from the ministers that number of passengers will be increased from 7, which they had anticipated, to 8.

“We thought we were going to carry seven people, but in the meeting, they told us we shall carry eight people, minus the driver and conductor,” he said.

The meeting was attended by the ministers of transport, local government, security, Kampala Affairs and ICT.

KCCA officials and police also attended, according to Mayambala.

Public transport will resume operations on Thursday.

According to Mayambala, price tick-up is inevitable.

“The fares will have to rise. We can’t operate at old rates because passengers have reduced yet the cost of fuel and the distance doesn’t change,” he said.

KCCA and the ministry of works and transport are also engaging taxi operators on a number of issues, including fresh registration and route assignment.

Mustafa Mayambala says the process has been effective so far, though some operators might not be ready by Thursday.

“By Thursday, some taxis will have been registered, but not all of them,” he said.

“The registration process is okay because the requirements can be obtained,” he went on.

“Where we find challenges, we inform them and they adjust… and most of the time, they have been flexible.”

Government claims Kampala’s day population is about 5 million and 2 million by night, implying 3 million people leave and enter the center on a daily basis.

It also claims over 27,000 taxis operate in Kampala while Mayambala says the figure is over 30,000.

If the guidelines that have issued by the government are followed, it’s really unnecessary for taxis to carry less-than-normal passengers, according to experts.