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|January 2nd, 2012, 07:26 PM||#21|
Join Date: Sep 2009
Likes (Received): 25
1. the bus fair for the city buses is cheaper than that on a matau.
2. the buses are more spacious and comfortable
3. the matatus alow con men and doggy conductors to raise fair and cheat customers
4. the buses will help to quickly de congest Kampala.
the matatus will stay in every other city but kampala atm . no serious transportation changes will be made to the other ugadan cities atm except for road construction the other citie are smaller so bus wouldnt be neccesary but kcca plans to get matatus out of kampala soon and replace with the buses of course .
|January 13th, 2012, 06:38 PM||#23|
Join Date: Sep 2009
Likes (Received): 25
4,000 recruited as pioneer easy bus prepares to roll
Passengers wait to board a bus in Kampala. Kampala Capital City Authority has granted a licence to a company, Pioneer Easy Bus to manage the Kampala public transport business.
By Risdel Kasasira (email the author)
Posted Friday, January 13 2012 at 00:00
Free economy. Pioneer Easy Bus aims at introducing 522 buses in the city which is likely to threaten the commuter taxi industry. But KCCA says it will leave the situation to the market forces to determine.
While one of the major reasons 14 seater-commuter taxis have been tolerated for so long is that they absorb a large number of unemployed youth but they have been blamed for traffic congestion in the city and in many cases have won political support.
From drivers to conductors to the menacing touts and “brokers” who often times grab a passenger and claim a commission for loading the taxi, the industry has been a lifeline for thousands thus stemming crime.
And as the city makes attempts to minimise traffic by introducing buses with a capacity to carry more people, the major concern remains on what the fate of those employed by the taxi industry will be.
Can the buses absorb those likely to be rendered jobless by the exit of taxis?
In 2007, Pioneer Easy Bus was given a three-year pilot contract to try out possibilities of mass commuter transport in the city as the authorities tested ways of phasing out taxis.
In 2011, after a successful three-year test, the company won a five-year concession to manage public bus transport.
As it plans a major roll-out this year by setting up waiting sheds at major stages across the city, the company says contrary to fears that it will lead to massive unemployment, they will create more jobs.
Mr Ondaki Mucunguzi, a company official, says from drivers to conductors and ticket sellers, the company plans to create at least 4,000 new jobs in the transport sector.
This will be done by partly switching from taxis to buses and new entrants, Mr Mucunguzi says.
To run the 522 buses, the company says it will introduce a 24-hour shedule where between 1,000 and 1,500 drivers will be required and a similar number is expected to work as conductors while an extra 1,000 are expected to do auxiliary responsibilities such as ticketing officers and clerks.
“Each bus will have three conductors and three drivers. By the end of next year, we shall have brought all 522 buses,” Mr Mucunguzi said. The drivers and conductors will also be trained in customer care.
In a country where unemployment among youth is above 83 per cent according to a recent report, the 4,000 additional jobs will come as a necessary jab but might be still too little to make a great impact.
The bus drivers and conductors will work in a rotational routine of eight hours unlike the current taxi drivers who work for 16 hours on average.
The director of planning for Kampala Capital City Authority, Mr George Agaba, says they do not have statistics on how many people are employed by the taxi industry currently but adds that there should be no reason for panic by those employed by taxis.
Mr Agaba assures the taxi drivers that they will not be chased out of the city.
“This is a free economy. We have not made that plan to get the taxis out of the city. Buses and taxis will both compete. It will be the market forces to determine who remains and who goes,” he said.
Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, reiterates Mr Agaba’s comment adding: “We do not know how many taxis are operating here. That is why Utoda has been fleecing us.”
He welcomes the idea of introducing buses but wonders whether this would decongest the city.
“It goes back to poor planning. With these small roads, the buses might congest instead of decongesting the city,” Mr Lukwago said.
Cant Wait For Our Beloved Buses
By Josepha Jabo
The appearance of the light green and gray Pioneer Easy Bus stops with wooden benches (they double as bus shelters providing shade against the sun and shelter against the rain) on city pavements have excited Kampala City dwellers. Manufactured by Yutong a Chinese-based firm, according to Pioneer Easy Bus Company (PEBC), the first batch of 100 buses, are expected in Uganda by the end of January 2012 and the 60-passenger capacity (30 sitting, 30 standing) yellow and orange buses will operate along Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area’s Eastern Route that is: Bweyogerere, Nakawa, Mukono, Kampala Road, Jinja Road, Bukoto, Naalya, Ntinda and Kiwatule.
PEBC comes with many advantages. Besides having a passenger capacity that quadruples a typical 14-seater UTODA taxi; PEBC will charge bus passengers half of what UTODA’s commuter taxis are currently charging in transport fares. This will be a relief to the general public because in the article titled, ‘Utoda in panic over new contract’ published on 26 June 2011, Sunday Vision reported, ‘International reports indicate that Uganda’s public transport is one of the most expensive in the world.’ Through PEBC’s ticketing offices passengers will be able buy their tickets before they board. There will also be weekly and monthly plastic travel cards. This is very convenient as it immediately eliminates the usual fumbling for change (or balance) with taxi conductors who are fond of abusing passengers who give them large denominations like Ug Shs 20,000 or Ug Shs 50,000 notes.
Under PEBC fares will be fixed, yet, the most grievous of Uganda Taxi Operators and Drivers Association (UTODA) taxi operators’ offences is the sudden hiking of transport fares and passengers have no choice but to pay. Worse still, once taxi fares are hiked they never revert. Furthering the exploitation, in the absence of fixed transport fares, traffic jam, increased fuel prices, and the Christmas Season are some of the reasons taxi operators give for overcharging hapless passengers. The general public has also been an unwilling witness scuffles between taxi conductors and taxi touts fighting over a few coins which is an indication of the un-seriousness of Uganda’s current public transportation system under UTODA. The road-worthiness of some of these ‘matatus’(DMCs) is also questionable.
Actually, bus-stops at regular intervals eliminates a taxi passenger’s prerogative to determine his or her stage. What is more, PEBC will stick to set bus routes and a schedule, while UTODA taxis are notorious for veering off set routes much to the chagrin of commuters.
Some UTODA taxis drivers recklessly endangering passengers’ lives. They are dirty, for example, during the 2011 Christmas period Uganda’s Traffic Police resumed an operation to crack down on road users who do not wear seat-belts—as they should. However, in UTODA taxis’, seat-belt wearing has always been a problem for passengers because taxi seatbelts (if they are there) are always dusty and dirty. UTODA taxis are narrow and cramped; hence the limited space makes embarking and disembarking difficult for passengers. UTODA Taxis often have sharp, metal jutting out of passenger seats which sometimes scratch passengers thus exposing them to tetanus.
Economically, monopolies eliminate competition to the detriment of service delivery whereas competition immediately improves service delivery and for over two decades that is exactly what UTODA has been, a monopoly in Uganda’s public transport sector. Yet, monopolizing has affected UTODA’s both professionally and in the quality of their customer service.
In conclusion, with the advent of buses, UTODA is going to face serious competition forcing it to pull up its socks or risk being outcompeted by PEBC as both buses and taxis will operate side-by-side resulting in an immediate improvement in Uganda’s Public Transport’s service delivery because that is exactly what competition does.
The Writer works for Uganda Media Centre