Uganda: Government Proposes Permanent Routes for Taxi Operators

Traffic in Kampala.

Kampala — Government is proposing to have all taxi operators in the country ply permanent routes to determine their daily income hence roper taxation, Daily Monitor has learnt.

The proposal is contained in the minutes of an inter-ministerial meeting about streamlining the transport industry in the country dated February 22, 2018.

According to the proposal, the permanent routes would help government to ascertain the number of taxis in the transport sector, how much money they make and also reduce congestion caused by illegal stages.

The meeting was a follow up of the President's meeting which was at State House in Entebbe last year.

Ms Beti Olive Kamya, the Minister for Kampala and the Metropolitan Area confirmed the proposal but she wondered where we got the information from.

"Who gave you that information? This is the proposal which we will present to Cabinet for further discussions because we want to streamline the entire transport system in the country. When Cabinet endorses it, we shall let the media know," the Minister said.

Currently, there are no clear guidelines on which routes taxi operators ought to ply. Majority of taxi operators don't have specific routes, something government says, makes revenue collection an uphill task to execute.

The fight for routes and stages have previously resulted into clashes especially among rival groups, causing fear among both taxi operators and passengers.

The lack of clear guidelines on routes, government argues, has led to the creation of many illegal stages hence congestion.

Mr Yasin Ssematimba, the chairperson of Kampala Operational Taxi Stages Association (Kotsa), welcomed the proposal, saying that it will reduce clashes among taxi operators whom he claimed have been fighting over stages and routes.

"As taxi leaders, it's really hard for us to supervise the operations of all taxi operators because you can never know the routes which the ply since they keep on changing every time and again. Some of them end up avoiding tax hence reducing government revenue," he said.

However, Mr Ssematimba asked government to expedite the process of streamlining the entire taxi business in the country to ensure safety of both drivers and passengers.

But Ms Beti Kamya noted that when all proposals are submitted to cabinet, a comprehensive roadmap, including elections of the leaders will be unveiled.

Last week, Ms Kamya told Daily Monitor that cabinet is finalizing guidelines under which the registration of all Boda bodas in the country will be carried out.

The urgency to streamline the transport sector in the country follows a spate of crimes allegedly caused by some motorists because the sector is unregulated.

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