Transport fares to major upcountry towns surge ahead of Christmas
Majority of the Bus Companies plying up country routes have increased transport fares from Kampala to their various destinations, a week to Christmas.
The increment follows a significant surge in the number of travellers to different destinations on the country side and interstate cities of Juba, Kigali and Nairobi.
Bus companies say the Transport Licensing Board-TLC has endorsed the changes to enable them recover rising cost of operations after authorizing them to make return journeys on the same day.
The Operations Manager of Opit Travelers Bus Company who only identified himself as Moses, says those plying the Kampala-Gulu Route have increased fares by 5,000 on all destinations.
He says the new rates were agreed upon with the Transport Licensing Board under the Works and Transport Ministry on Friday. The board allowed the increment on condition that they rest all their drivers and turn men who have operated one way during the return journey for all destinations above 300 Kilometers.
“The ministry accepted a bus can now make a return journey but the drivers cannot. So this forced me to hire more drivers, which is also costly. Also, with the increased journeys, the cost of servicing becomes high. If used to service every two weeks, now I have to service twice within two weeks, so we share this cost with the passengers,” he said.
Others bus operators say that the price increase is meant to cover the cost of returning near empty of empty vessels to Kampala. On Kampala – Lira route the prices are ranging between Shs35,000 and Shs40,000 up from Shs25,000 and Shs30,000 for ordinary and executive buses respectively.
Along Kampala– Juba Road, Ali Kassim Andrua, the Booking Clerk of Trinity Coaches, says they charge Shs50,000 for Kampala – Gulu for their executive buses, up from Shs40,000 while Elegu is Shs75,000 and Juba Shs100,000.
On the Eastern Route, Y.Y Coaches has maintained its record of not increasing the fares while other companies have adopted new rates. Isaac Olanya, the Manager at Y.Y Coaches in Namayiba Bus Terminal, says the fare is stagnant at Shs25,000 from Kampala to Lira as other Companies charge between Shs30,000 and Shs40,000.
A booking clerk in Bakuli Bus Terminal for Buses going to Western Uganda says the rates depend on the influx of passengers and availability of buses in the park. To Western Uganda, different Companies have introduced different fares in accordance to the number of travelers.
Gateway Bus Company in Bakuli Bus Terminal plying the Kampala–Mbarara route declined to comment on record saying their fare would increase with time on all routes they are operating.
Kevin Ariho, the Operations Manager of Perfect Coaches told Uganda Radio Network that Companies plying the Western route are capitalizing on the festive season to recover from huge losses they suffered in November when traveler’s number tumbled.
He however noted that the fare for Kampala to Bwindi had increased to Shs80, 000 due to the heavy rains.
In the same terminal, Global Coaches has increased fares to Mbarara to Shs40,000, from the usual Shs15,000, while Kalita Bus Company is charging the least. Kalita Bus Manager declined to comment but a booking clerk said they are charging between Shillings Shs15,000 and Shs40,000 on different stopovers.
Below is a summary of samples of transport fares on some of the routes as of Tuesday December 17, 2019 from Kampala to major regional cities and towns.