Bus operators have hiked their transport fares as the Christmas season draws closer. The bus owners have attributed the increase in the fares to high fuel and spare part prices.
This comes weeks after the Works and Transport Minister, General Edward Katumba Wamala rejected earlier attempts by the bus operators under Uganda Bus Owners Association (UBOA) to increase the transport fares by between shs 5000 and shs 10,000.
Following the easing of the nationwide lockdown, transporters increased their fares to compensate for the loss of some travelers since they were required to carry half capacity.
It is on the revised fare, that the transporters have now increased between shs 5000 and shs10,000.
For example, prior to the lockdown, bus operators plying the Mbale-Kampala route would charge between Shillings 18,000 and shs 20,000.
Following the introduction of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), the operators revised the fares from shs 20,000 to shs 35,000.
However, they have now hiked the fares to shs.40,000.
Saturday Muhwezi, the manager of Kisenyi Bus terminal justifies the increment, saying it is meant to cater for the hiked fuel prices.
According to Muhwezi, business is low because many people moved to the villages due to the lockdown and have never returned to the city.
He revealed that there is only 15 percent passenger flow compared to the period prior to the lockdown where the operators could hire buses from the government to carry excess travelers during Christmas festivities.
James Ogwang, the Operations Manager YY coaches and Courier Services, says that, unlike the past season, they have also increased fares to all destinations by shs 5000 because of increased fuel prices.
James Okuku, the manager of Divine coaches, says that they increased the fares between shs 5000 and shs 10,000 in line with a directive from Uganda Bus Owners Association (UBOA).
He, however, said that they are currently transporting more cargo compared to passengers because of the school closure.
Goofery Mawadri from Nile Star Trade Link says that they have increased the fares from Kampala to Arua from shs 60,000 to shs 70,000 and Kampala to Gulu from shs 40,000 to shs50,000.
He attributes the increment to high fuel and maintenance costs for their coaches.
Apollo Bashambo, a cashier of Baby coaches along Bombo road, says that they have also hiked their fares from Kampala to Yumbe from shs 60,000 to shs 70,000, Kampala to Koboko shs 55000 to shs. 60,000 and Kampala Paida shs. 40,000 to 50,000.
Christopher Muyise, a driver at the Fort portal stage in the new taxi park, says that they have increased the fares from Kampala to Fort portal from shs. 50,000 to shs.60,000.
Twaha Ssali, a driver at Masaka costa stage in the new taxi park, says due to the limited number of travelers, they have not revised their fares.
They are charging shs 20,000 from Kampala to Masaka.
Rosebud Nambayo, who was traveling to Kadama in Kibuku district, said the increased transport fare will leave them without money since businesses are down.