Travelers have got a sigh of relief following a government decision to issue temporary permits to hundreds of unregistered transport operators. The decision which was announced on Friday by Kampala Minister, Betty Amongi, was prompted by complaints from hundreds of travelers who couldn’t get transport means to their destination because of the restrictions on unregistered vehicles.
“We have experienced a surge in the number of passengers who would like to travel upcountry because they are unable to continue living in the city due to economic impact of COVID 19 and the cost of living. Considering that the curfew time has also interrupted the movements of Buses that had been travelling at night, we have noted some passengers sleeping in the parks and the public transporters failing to meet demands of the passengers,” Amongi said on Friday as she announced a three-day waiver that expires on June 8.
New taxi Park, Namayiba and Kisenyi Parks were largely empty of public transport vehicles on Thursday despite the suspension of the ban on public transport. This was largely because a few taxis had completed the compulsory registration with Kampala Capital City Authority while those on the road couldn’t exceed the curfew time.
Realizing the gap, government started issuing temporary permits to unregistered transport operators plying upcountry routes on Friday to transport passengers who had resorted to sleeping in the parks.
Silver Kasirye, the Chairman Jinja Stage in the New taxi Park, one of those that registered a high number of stranded passengers, said that by Saturday morning, over 80 taxis had left for the Busoga sub-region.
He said the initiative has eased the transportation of passengers.
The temporary permits issued by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) specify the name of the driver, their National ID number and destination. The drivers are also required to provide a photocopy of their permit and register all the passengers on board.
Only taxis plying upcountry routes receive the permits. To the Eastern part of Uganda, upcountry destinations start from Mukono, on the Northern route it’s from Bombo, while the Western and Southern route starts from Nsangi.
Ronald Mukasa, the defense secretary at Namayiba taxi park said that the waiver has been a huge relief to the people who spent nights in the park waiting to travel with the few taxis available.
Transporters have however noted shortfalls in the registration system, sayings it is too slow to given their huge numbers. They also say the requirements for registration are tough, adding that some of their permits and PSV license expired during the lockdown and cannot renew them yet.
KCCA spokesperson, Peter Kaujju, says over 3444 taxes have so far been registered and assigned routes. The process according to Amongi will go on until June 30, 2020.