A police crackdown on drivers and vehicles in Dangerous Mechanical Condition has paralyzed public transport in Masaka.
On Wednesday this Week, Police launched a massive operation to impound cars in Dangerous Mechanical Condition.
60 cars which operate on Masaka-Kyotera, Masaka-Mbarara highway, and Masaka –Sembabule road were impounded living hundreds of passengers stranded.
The most affected are travelers to Kyotera, Mutukula, Bukakata, Kyazaanga, Kinoni, Sembabule, and Kiwangala. The few drivers who are still operating have hiked their fares.
Titus Byaruhanga, Masaka District Police commander says accuses the drivers of excess loading and over speeding.
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Kasifa Namatovu, who URN found standing along the Masaka-Kyotera highway told URN that she had spent over three hours waiting for a car to Mutukula.
Namatovu said that she had got into a taxi but traffic officers impounded it because it was loading from ungazatted area.
As a result of the vehicle scarcity passengers to Mutukula are paying shillings 10,000 from 8000 shillings, while those traveling to Kyotera have to part with shillings 5000 instead of 4500.
Charles Otim, a driver accuses the police of targeting their cars. He says as a result of the police crackdown several drivers have hidden their cars for fear of being impounded.
Otim accuses the traffic police of extortion. He says that they are being forced to pay between shillings 100,000 and 150,000. He wants IGG to investigate how the police uses the money.
But Noah Tuyisimire, the southern region traffic police officer denies that police is extorting money from the drivers.
He says that all drivers are being charged under the express penalty scheme which is provided for by law.