Uganda: Government Proposes Strict Guidelines for Boda-Boda, Taxi Operators After Lockdown

Government through the ministry of Kampala has proposed strict guidelines for boda-boda and taxi operations in the city when the virus-induced lockdown is finally lifted.

The revelation was made by Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago while addressing journalists at City Hall on Wednesday afternoon.

Quoting the framework paper sent to him by Ms Benny Namugwanya Bugembe, the State Minister for Kampala, Mr Lukwago told journalists that Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and the Ministry of Works and Transport have already issued guidelines to enforce the new transport changes.

According to the guidelines, Mr Lukwago said, all boda-boda motorcycles shall operate under digital companies (use of apps like Safe Boda, Uber, Bolt among others). This, he said, will be done in the first week after lifting the coronavirus induced lockdown.

He also revealed that the technocrats mapped out boda-boda stages and came up with 970 stages. But the technocrats, he revealed, are planning to phase out 385 boda stages.

The framework paper, Mr Lukwago noted, boda-bodas will only be allowed to operate up to 7pm (curfew time) for 21 days until all of them are registered. Also, there will be boda-boda free zones in the city although he didn't offer more details.

Before the lockdown, Kampala had over 200,000 boda-boda drivers zipping around the capital, yet the industry remains largely unregulated.

About passenger service vehicles, Mr Lukwago revealed that the KCCA and the Ministry of Works are planning to ban taxis in the city after the lockdown for three weeks to first register with the ministry before they are cleared to operate again.

After 42 days, government will then allow only registered taxis to operate in the city but under strict measures.

KCCA's head of Public and Corporate Affairs, Mr Peter Kaujju said: "What I can confirm to you is that there was a meeting. We are basically mooting plans to improve mobility of taxis and boda-bodas and streamline the entire transport in the city. These are just proposals and Cabinet will make a final decision. There shouldn't be cause for alarm."

However, Mr Lukwago said that the proposed guidelines are intended to entirely kick out taxi drivers and boda-bodas from the city.

He also faulted the technocrats for coming up with laws without engaging city leaders and transport stakeholders.

"This is not fair at all beacause we already have boda-boda and taxi ordinances in place but government has instead overlooked them. How do you come up with such policies when you haven't engaged leaders of taxis and boda-bodas! Should we really be discussing such yet Kampala is literally suffering with the impact of Covid-19?" Mr Lukwago asked.

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