Transport Fares Soar on Major Upcountry Routes Ahead of Christmas Top story

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In short
The new rates are meant to bridge losses Companies are suffering because of returning half empty or empty vessels from up country destinations to Kampala as their numbers tumbled below their profit margins. The situation is similar on Kampala - Lira route with the maximum being charged peaking between 35,000 and 40,000 up from 25,000 and 30,000 Shillings for ordinary and executive buses respectively.

Majority of the Bus Companies plying up country routes have increased transport fares from Kampala to their various destinations, a week to Christmas.  The increment follows a significant surge in the number of travelers to up country destination and interstate cities of Juba, Kigali and Nairobi.  


   They say the Transport Licensing Board-TLC has endorsed the changes to enable them recover rising cost of operations after authorizing them to make return journeys on the same day. The Operations Manager of Opit Travelers Bus Company who only identified himself as Moses, says those plying the Kampala Gulu Route have increased fares by 5,000 on all destinations.    



He says the new rates were agreed upon with the Transport Licensing Board under the Works and Transport Ministry on Friday. The board allowed the increment on condition that they rest all their drivers and turn men who have operated one way during the return journey for all destinations above 300 Kilometers.     



//Cue in; "The ministry accepted a bus...  
    

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The new rates are meant to bridge losses Companies are suffering because of returning half empty or empty vessels from up country destinations to Kampala as their numbers tumbled below their profit margins.  The situation is similar on Kampala - Lira route with the maximum being charged peaking between 35,000 and 40,000 up from 25,000 and 30,000 Shillings for ordinary and executive buses respectively.      



Along Kampala - Juba Road, Ali Kassim Andrua, the Booking Clerk of Trinity Coaches, says they charge 50,000 Shillings for Kampala - Gulu for their executive buses, up from Shillings 40,000 while Elegu is 75,000 Shillings and Juba 100,000 Shillings.       



On the Eastern Route, Y.Y Coaches has maintained its record of not increasing the fares while other companies have adopted new rates.  Isaac Olanya, the Manager at Y.Y Coaches in Namayiba Bus Terminal, says the fare is stagnant at Shillings 25,000 from Kampala to Lira as other Companies charge between 30,000 and 40,000 Shillings.     



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Cue out….like 35,000."//     



A booking clerk in Bakuli Bus Terminal for Buses going to Western Uganda says the rates depend on the influx of passengers and availability of buses in the park.  To Western Uganda, different Companies have introduced different fares in accordance to the number of travelers.




Gateway Bus Company in Bakuli Bus Terminal plying the Kampala - Mbarara route declined to comment on record saying their fare will go up with time on all routes they are operating.  Kevin Ariho, the Operations Manager of Perfect Coaches told Uganda Radio Network that Companies plying the Western route are capitalizing on the festive season to recover from huge losses they suffered in November when traveler's number tumbled.     




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In the same terminal, Global Coaches has increase fares to Mbarara to 40,000 shillings while Kalita Bus Company is charging the least. Kalita Bus Manager declined to comment but a booking clerk said they are charging between 15,000 and 40,000 Shillings on different stopovers.           



Below is a summary of samples of transport fares on some of the routes as of Tuesday December 17, 2019 from Kampala to major regional cities and towns. Kampala to Mbarara 30,000 from 15,000; Kampala to Rukungiri 40,000 Shillings, from 35,000 Shillings, Kampala to Kabale from 35,000 to nearly 75,000 Shillings with operators citing few customers and few vehicles on the route.     




Kampala to Kisoro from 40,000 to 45,000 Shillings, Kampala to Kasese from  30,000 to 40,000 Shillings, Kampala-Fort Portal from 30,000 to between 35,000 and 45,000, Kampala to Bundibugyo from 30,000 to 40,000 Shillings and Kampala to Masindi is now at 25,000 Shillings; Mbarara to Isahaka, Busenyi 40,000, Mbarara to Bwindi fluctuating between  70,000 and 80,000 Shillings .   



Kampala to Pakwach and Nebbi 35,000, Arua 40,000, Koboko and Yumbe 45,000. Zawadi charges from Kampala to Adjumani 35,000 while to Yumbe 40,000 and Arua 30,000.   Those plying on Eastern route, fares have increased by 10,000 shillings and now from Kampala to Mbale from 20,000 to 25000, Kampala to Soroti from 25,000 to 30,000 Shillings.    




Cross border buses have also increased fares from Kampala to Nairobi from 65,000 to 70,000, Kampala to Mombasa 111,000 Shillings, Kampala to Kigali Rwanda from 50,000 to 55,000 Shillings, while to Juba is now 80,000 Shillings.   

 

About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.