Breaking

Taxi Operators Decry Slow Business in Usafi

On October 16th, 2019, Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA directed all Taxis plying the Entebbe route to relocate from Old Taxi Park to Usafi Park by Friday October 25th, 2019. The directive affected several stages including Kajjansi, Zana- Namasuba, Kasenyi, Ndeeba- Sembuule, Kibuye Queens way and Ndejje.
02 Nov 2019 08:08

Audio 5

A week after being relocated to Usafi Taxi Park, drivers plying the Entebbe route are complaining of low business. They say many passengers are yet to embrace the change.   On October 16th, 2019, Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA directed all Taxis plying the Entebbe route to relocate from Old Taxi Park to Usafi Park by Friday October 25th, 2019. The directive affected several stages including Kajjansi, Zana- Namasuba, Kasenyi, Ndeeba- Sembuule, Kibuye Queens way and Ndejje.

They were replaced by vehicles connecting to Kansanga, Ggaba, Muyenga, Buziga, Makindye Nabisalu Stage via Nsambya and Salaama Nabisalu via Nsambya that were around Shoprite, Shell and Gapco Fuel stations. The reorganization and traffic changes are intended to improve traffic flow during the implementation of Kampala Flyover Project and renovation of Namirembe-Luwum Street.

URN spoke to some of the taxi operators who were relocated from the Old Taxi Park to Usafi to establish how business is moving. Benya Ssengendo Mukasa, a taxi conductor on Entebbe stage, says the turn-up of passengers is still low but hopes the situation will improve with time when they embrace the change. Mukasa spoke to URN around 1pm and had just filed his taxi ready to make his first trip contrary to the old taxi park where he would be making the second trip.

//Cue in: “Naye kati ngenda…     

Cue out: …gyasigadde gyegyo”// 

Husain Muledu, a taxi driver at Entebbe stage also says passenger turn up is still low yet there are over 300 taxis at the stage. He hadn’t made a second trip when our reporter spoke to him around 1pm on Thursday. Muledu blames the low turn up on taxis that have defied the KCCA directive and continued operating on the streets. URN observed that there still are taxis operating on the streets around Aponye Mall and Shoprite.  He says they tried to engage the errant operators but they told them off and wants KCCA to intervene and ensure compliance of all taxi operators.   

//Cue in: “Nze ku ssawa…   

Cue out: …eri waggulu”//    

Emmanuel Lubega, a driver and Committee member at Namasuba Najjanankumbi stagein Usafi Taxi Park, says they haven’t yet reaped from the relocation. Lubega has been operating in Usafi taxi since its establishment more than six years ago.   He however, says business hasn’t picked up due to the low turn up of passengers. The new traffic guidelines gave him hope that the number of passengers would raise but this hasn’t materialized yet as taxis operating on streets continue to trap passengers.

//Cue in: “Emmotoka zazze…    

Cue out: …Usafi obutaalibaddewo”//  

When KCCA moved the taxis to Usafi Taxi Park, the management agreed and allocated them two major spaces to operate from. Entebbe stage has been established at the lower part of Usafi park while Zana, Kajjansi, Namasuba stages among others operate from the upper part of the park close to the Mengo route.   Musa Muleme, the chairman of Usafi Market area, says that they created the new stages to ensure sanity in the park. The stages have been created depending on the destination of taxis.

//Cue in: “Entebbe road waliwo…   

Cue out: …baalina kutwaala”//   

Taxi operators are doing all they can to guide passengers to the park. They have placed placards indicating different stages and deployed touts calling on passengers. The touts stand with the placards on the street between Nakivubo and Usafi to guide passengers.   In the park, more touts guide passengers to the different new stages. Never the less some customers still find it difficult to get to the taxis. One of the passenger said she had lost her way but was guided by the taxi operators. Apart from the park being new to many of the passengers, the distance is also worrying.   A passenger who only identified himself as Phizo, a resident of Entebbe, says he cannot walk from town to Usafi and therefore has to incur an extra cost of Shillings 2000 to take a Boda Boda from the old taxi park to Usafi.       

//Cue in: “It is tiresome…        

Cue out: …five hundred”//   

 The KCCA Spokesperson, Peter Kauju couldn’t be reached for a comment on what they intend to do to ensure full compliance with their directive. The Kampala Metropolitan Police Deputy Spokesperson, Luke Oweyesigyire, says despite the distance, the route to Usafi is safe for passengers to walk. He says that with the presence of Clock tower, Biwologoma and Usafi police posts, there shouldn’t be any security fears.

URN saw some Local Defense Unit-LDU personnel on the same route who Oweyesigyire, says have been there since the unit was rolled out to beef security in the area. He says that the crime rate on that route has reduced and hence safe for people.

Police has also deployed at closed roads to ensure that the KCCA directive is respected. Alongside changes in taxi parks, KCCA directive also affected some roads. The section of Burton Street between Ben Kiwanuka Street and William Street were made two-way while Burton Road, Sikh Road section between Buxton Road and Shoprite Junction were made one way.

Keywords