Kampala bus operators have embarked on passenger property safety ahead of the end year festivities.
Touts have been positioned to spread the information to travellers as the areas around the parks get busy with deafening sounds from megaphones, loud speakers of hundreds of business operators hunting for customers along streets.
At different bus terminals in down town Kampala, youth are seen holding mega phones cautioning travellers to guard their luggage.
A URN reporter made visits to Qualicel Bus Terminal, popularly known as Bus za Baganda, Link Bus Terminal, Kisenyi, Bakuli and Namayiba Bus Terminals where communication through speakers and walkie-talkies is taking place.
In Bakuli Bus Terminal in Mengo, Jane Kobusingye, a 30-year-old employee of Global Buses, a transport company that plies the Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara route, possesses a megaphone and walks from bus to bus telling travellers to keep their laptop bags and smart phones safe.
This portable cone-shaped acoustic horn speaking-trumpet enables her to amplify her voice. Her message is simple; "Keep an eye on your valuables while in the bus," citing rising theft cases.
Kobusingye told URN that she takes it as her responsibility to ensure that all passengers travelling with her company are informed of what is happening.
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The passengers URN spoke to said they were grateful for the messages by the bus companies arguing that there's need for constant awareness for travellers.
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Jude Tumwine, the Operations Manager Global Coaches, says they resorted to massive sensitisation of passengers due to the rampant cases of theft.
According to Tumwine, some thieves operate as passengers and manly target valuable items such as laptop computers and phones among others. He suspects that some of the thieves have trackers to easily locate which bag has a laptop.
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Phillip Kimanywa, a third year student at Makerere University is the latest victim after he lost his laptop one week ago while travelling to Mbarara.
URN learnt that at Nyendo Bus Stop in Masaka, while he had stepped out to ease himself, someone walked away with Kimanywa's laptop bag including all his valuables.
"The incident happened as I moved out shortly to ease myself. There was my laptop together with all my Research data, three pairs of Clothes, shoes, National and University IDs, and other items," Kimanywa discloses.
Tumwine says before they shifted from Kisenyi Bus Terminal, at least five to ten cases of theft would be registered in a week. He however says that due to public announcements, there has been an improved level of passenger vigilance towards their luggage.
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Albert Kaparaga, the Operations Manager for Link Bus Services Limited, notes that his company has managed to install CCTV cameras to monitor all activities at the terminal. He says that they have previously had cases of laptop thefts in Mubende where the culprits were arrested and handed over to police.
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Adam Mubiru, a manager at Swift Bus Company, says thieves have advanced techniques and invest in transport in order to steal.
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Vicent Agaba, the assistant security manager at Kisenyi Bus Terminal, says they plan to have speakers to communicate the theft threats to passengers by November.
He notes that they have already started installing CCTV cameras at the bus terminal.