Uganda Taxi Operators and Driver’s Association-UTODA has expressed interest to buy off Pioneer Easy Buses that were impounded recently by Uganda Revenue Authority over accumulated tax arrears to the tune of 8 billion shillings. Emmanuel Tibaijuka, the public relations officer Utoda-Awakula ENnume transport cooperative society says that their top management has resolved to buy off the Pioneer buses once they are put up for auction. Awakula ENNume Cooperative society started operating after Kampala Capital City Authority took over the management of city public transport.
Despite the fact that he doesn’t specify how much money has been set aside for the project, Tibaijuka says they have the capacity to pay for the 99 buses. He explains that each of the 2000 members of UTODA cooperative has contributed a minimum share capital of between 100,000 to 960,000 shillings which is going to be used to buy the Pioneer Easy Buses. Recently, URA published notices in the local newspapers announcing plans to auction Pioneer buses. Sarah Banage, the URA assistant commissioner for public and corporate affairs recently told a news conference that the buses will be sold within two weeks.
She explained that URA needs the money to close tax collection deficit. The move followed persistent reminders to the bus company to clear the cumulative debts in vain. Pioneer Bus Company started operations on March 12, the day taxi drivers staged a strike after KCCA introduced a monthly collection of 120,000 shillings from each taxi operates in the city. Passengers enjoyed lower fares charged by the buses, compared to those charged by taxis, which previously dominated city public transport. Tibaijuka says that once they successfully buy off the buses, they will work out ways to come up with fares that will be acceptable to all parties.