By Spy Uganda
Kampala: Taxi operators in Kampala have started counting losses after Tondeka Metro Company (TMC) commenced a mass transit bus system that the government through Kampala Capital City Authority put in place to address the overwhelming urban congestion, safety and affordability in the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area and beyond.
According to the management of Tondeka Metro Company, they have started with routes including from the city Centre, Wandegeya, Mulago, Bukoto, Ntinda, Nakawa, Lugogo, and jinja road up to the city square.
“To answer the affordability question, Tondeka bus charges just 1000 shillings per trip on the route. It’s exciting that the commuters will enjoy seamless free WIFI while on the bus, just imagine that great experience,” the management noted.
With each route going for UGX1,000 way less compared to taxis plying the same routes charging between UGX 2,000.- 3,000, taxi operators will need to rethink their charges if they are to remain in the transport business.
Because safety is key, the good news is that the ministry of works and transport has already cleared, licensed, and declared Tondeka buses fit and safe to transport people in the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area.
“Thanks to His Excellency, the President of Uganda and the Government of Uganda through Kiira motors corporation for the tremendous work building the buses as well as the project financing partners Rentco Africa. Enjoy your journey as we turn your miles into smiles, Tondeka transforming mobility,” the management added.
Last week, Tondeka Bus Company received five buses from Kiira Motors to start the city transport business as one of the ways to decongest the city.
Another 25 buses are also expected before the end of this year from Kiira Motors for the same bus company.
A few years ago, President Museveni directed the Ministry of Finance to fast-track the Tondeka Metro Buses Initiative aimed at improving urban transport services in and around the capital city.
A total of 980 Ashok Leyland buses from Hinduja Group- India, were to be imported initially to kick start a safe, reliable and affordable public transport system in metropolitan Kampala.
However, last year, as he commissioned the Kiira Motor plant, the president gave a directive banning the importation of buses into Uganda as a way of supporting the country’s automotive industry.
“No more importing of wholly built vehicles. They wanted to play me a game that African Development Bank has lent us money but I don’t want to hear that. I won’t allow it. These thieves don’t care about others. They only think about their food. I insisted I can’t allow wholly built buses,” Museveni said in August last year.
“There shouldn’t be any more assembling of buses since it had some issues because a bus is manufactured from abroad and brought here in parts. You are hoodwinking yourself that you are manufacturing. We don’t want to hear assembling but rather fabricating and then manufacturing. We must fabricate and then manufacture.”
Tondeka buses were set to start operations with 400 buses initially plying different routes to-and-from city suburbs.
The buses will initially ply Kampala-Mukono on Jinja Road, Kampala- Nsangi on Masaka Road, Kampala- Buloba on Mityana Road, Kampala- Wakiso on Hoima Road , Kampala-Matugga on Bombo Road; Kampala – Entebbe and Kampala- Ggaba.