Following the opening of public transport on Thursday, June 4, 2020, hundreds of travelers took to various bus and taxi parks to access public service vehicles.
However, the fact that KCCA had issued a directive to have all Public Service Vehicles (PSV) first registered before they can resume their operations of carrying passengers, many travelers remained stranded in the parks since most of the PSV vehicles had not yet been registered.
Additionally, following a presidential directive that all Public Service Vehicles must carry half of their usual carrying capacity in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19, the number of travelers overwhelmed the few PSVs.
In a bid to curb the challenge of a huge number of travelers stranded in parks, the Minister for Kampala Betty Amongi has said that some taxis especially those heading upcountry have been allowed to move past curfew time.
“Uganda Police Force accepted a number of taxis to travel beyond curfew time to transport those who were sleeping in the parks. Most people just want to go to the village as life in the city is becoming expensive,” said Amongi while addressing reporters at Uganda Media Center on Friday.
Amongi further said that buses and taxis plying upcountry routes have been given a temporary waiver of 3 days up to Monday, June 8, 2020, to carry passengers even when they are not registered.
The waiver permits however shall be authorized by Kampala Resident City Commissioner (RCC) and KCCA team shall issue the permit to any PSV ready to transport passengers.
“We understand the fact that the impact of COVID-19 abrupt lockdown had resulted in many people staying in Kampala yet they had wanted to travel upcountry. When public transport was opened, the majority of those who have no proper employments or had been caught here wanted to travel upcountry so a huge number suddenly came to the park and overwhelmed the few upcountry PSV,” said Amongi.
She added, “the curfew time-limited movement of buses which had been traveling 24 hours with over 10 buses traveling to popular destinations; due to curfew, they are now less than 5 buses making the only one route a day instead of two or three with full capacity.”
Amongi also attributed the surge in the number of travelers to the reduction in carrying capacity of buses and taxis which limited the number of passengers a PSV should carry leading to many passengers being left stranded, inflation in the number of transport costs, failure by PSVs to register in time among others.