Low Turn Up of Passengers in Soroti, Fort Portal As Public Transport Resumes

Paul Omongin, the chairperson of Serere Drivers Association says only six taxis from Kagwara, Kamod, Pingire, Serere town and Ochapa had arrived to town in the morning. He explains that many passengers are finding it hard to cope with the new rates.
Situation at Soroti Bus Park.

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Public transport resumed on Thursday in different parts of the country attracting few passengers.

The ban was lifted earlier this week provided they carry only half of their normal capacity.

It’s also mandatory for anyone travelling in a public vehicle to wear a face mask, including the driver and conductor.

At the Bus and Taxi parks in Soroti town, few passengers were seeking to travel to different destinations.

By 9:00 am, only YY and Kakise Kampala bound buses had left the park with a handful of passengers.

The buses that were supposed to leave Soroti by 7:00 am were delayed by an hour due to lack of passengers.

At the Taxi Park, only two taxis had set off for Mbale while none to Kaberamaido, Katakwi, Amuria and Serere.

Paul Omongin, the chairperson of Serere Drivers Association explains that passengers are finding it hard to cope with the new rates.

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According to the rates, transport from Soroti to Kampala is 40,000 shillings from 20,000, Soroti to Kangole in Napak district 35,000 from 15,000 shillings, Soroti to Kotido 40,000 from 20,000, Soroti to Lira now costs 20,000 from 12,000 shillings, Soroti- Serere town costs 10,000 from 5,000 and other destinations like Kagwara in Kadungulu now cost 20,000 from 8,000 shillings.

Aman Matte, the Manager of Gateway Bus Company says that they were forced to increase the fares since the buses now carry only half of their normal capacity.

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Salume Akiteng, a passenger found at the Bus Park says that much as she wanted to travel, she is worried about her health since more people are testing positive.

“I think I will have to postpone my journey because am not seeing any seriousness here on social distancing. Yes, I can wash my hands and wear a mask but what happens to the bus seat, luggage and money exchange? This public transport is risky”, she said.

Moses Otimong, the Town Clerk of Soroti Municipality says all the buses and taxis have been restricted to their respective parks along Old Mbale Road. He adds that all entry points into the park have hand washing facilities and infrared thermometers.

In Fort Portal, few passengers turned up in different bus parks and taxi parks. At Nyakaseke Taxi Park, by 10:00 am, only four passengers were at the park preparing to travel to Kampala.

The Chairperson Nyakaseke taxi park Bernard Kandole attributed the low turn up to the ban on public transport in the border districts of Bundibugyo, Ntoroko and Kasese. He says that the majority of the passengers are business people from the three districts.

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Edward Akankwasa, the manager Baby coaches says that by 11:00 am, only 15 passengers had travelled to Kampala. He attributed the low turn up to the increase in transport fares. 

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Transport from Fort Portal to Kampala by bus has since doubled from 20,000 to 45,000 shillings Fort Portal to Kyenjojo from 5,000 10,000 shillings, Fort Portal- Mbarara 35,000 from 25,000 shillings.