Government gives green light to public transport fares

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport has approved new tariffs for public transport services for taxi operators in the country.

In a statement on Thursday, Deputy Minister of Works and Transport, Fred Byamukama, revealed that the government had “reviewed the tariffs presented to them and approved a tariff increase range of between Shs500 and Shs5000, depending on the distance of the journey”.

The Ministry of Works and Transport, along with taxi operators, agreed to increases of Shs 500 for journeys within the city limits.

Trips beyond 35km will attract an increment of Shs1,000; Shs2,000 for journeys between 40kms and 100kms.

Elsewhere, journeys extending beyond 130km will attract an increase of Shs3,000 and Shs5,000 for those over 140km.

After the Federation of Uganda Taxi Operators (Futo) submitted revised fares for public transport services to the Ministry of Works and Transport, Mr. Byamukama was quick to state that “the public carrier has agreed to lower the tariffs once fuel prices have stabilized”.

A liter of diesel, used by most utility vehicles, now sells for an average of Shs5,000.

The price of gasoline at the pump has long exceeded the 5,000 shilling mark.

The Ministry of Works and Transport said it would continue to monitor fares to ensure that future increases, if any, are not unfair.

It comes after Futo approved increases sensitive to current inflationary pressures following a Thursday meeting last week.

“We had thought of increasing the tariff from next week, but the members decided that it should be done from Friday,” revealed Mr. Rashid Mugenyi Ssekandi, the president of Futo.

Mr Ssekandi said they had no choice after the government ruled out providing fuel subsidies.

Several passengers the Sunday Monitor spoke to unsurprisingly greeted the increases with apprehension.

However, they also recognized the inevitability of the end result. Mr. Hassan Ssegalya, a commuter, said that currently there are few passengers traveling and hence the increase in transport fares will aggravate the situation as people have no money.

“With current fuel prices, an increase in transport fares was inevitable, but the government should step in as soon as possible to intervene before the situation spirals out of control,” he said.

Mr Ronald Mugisha, another commuter, said the increase in transport fares would affect cash-strapped passengers.

“The government must find a solution to the rapid increase in prices not only of fuel but also of other raw materials because, in general, we are in a bad patch. We will resort to walking as we did in the first [lockdown],” he said.

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