5 December 2012

Uganda: KK Traveller Resumes Operations, Drivers Tested

Ten drivers of KK Traveller (KKT) buses who failed their test in the ongoing Police vetting are to be re-assessed, the bus company publicist said.

Patrick Alioni, the KKT public relations officer said out of the company's 26 drivers, only 16 passed the tests - theoretical and practical - at Naguru Driver Testing Centre in Kampala.

The bus company declined to reveal the names of the drivers who failed the test saying it would jeopardize their careers.

Asked if the driving licenses of the unsuccessful drivers will be revoked, Kharim Kibuuka, the senior inspector of vehicles in Transport Licensing Board (TLB) said the 10 drivers will have to re-undergo the vetting process.

"Those who have failed the tests will have to be re-assessed until they pass. The essence of the vetting process is to ensure that only qualified and road-worthy drivers go through," he said.

However, Dr. Steven Kasiima, the senior commissioner of traffic earlier revealed that Police preferred the cancellation of the driving permits of drivers found out to have caused fatal accidents.

And he vowed to make a recommendation to the licensing board as the regards the matter.

The revelation comes as KKT resumed operations this week after a two-week self-imposed suspension mid last month.

The company had grounded all its buses following the fatal accident that claimed 10 lives and wounded 40 others when one of its buses knocked down an elephant in Koboko district.

Alioni made an official apology for the accidents caused by KKT, saying in part: "The management of the company most sincerely regrets any inconveniences and grief caused during and before the two weeks when our operations were suspended."

He noted that the 37 victims who had been nursing accident wounds at Arua referral hospital have all been discharged with the bus company covering their medical bills.

The other three who were admitted at Mulago referral hospital are also recovering.

The publicist revealed that the bus company covered all the burial expenses of the victims who perished in the grisly accident.

Passengers who lost their belongings in the accident will equally be compensated for, he assured.

Only evening operations. . . for now

According to Alioni, the company decided to resume duties due to "overwhelming demand for our services by our ardent clients."

He however noted that since some of the company's drivers had not yet been cleared to drive, the company will only sanction evening operations.

"For now, daytime operations should wait. Our buses will depart Kampala and upcountry parks at 9.30 pm and 10pm until all the drivers are allowed to drive."

Passengers commended the move by KKT to resume services saying it will stabilize transport fares along the Kampala-Koboko highway.

Abele John, a traveller said: "In the last few days when KKT was not operating, other bus companies were extorting money from us. Imagine we are being charged sh23,000 from Kampala to Kigumba yet it is supposed to be sh18,000."

Alioni allayed fears of Ugandans that KKT buses had become a death trap and argued that accidents are unanticipated.

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