Transport fares to eastern Uganda have shot up as a result of the ongoing strike by drivers to protest against the revised express penalty scheme. On Monday, drivers in Busoga region parked their vehicles and block the Jinja-Kampala highway to express their dissatisfaction with the heavy fines in the revised express penalty scheme. They also blocked buses and heavy commercial vehicles from operating. As a result, some of the few passenger vehicles plying the Eastern route have hiked their fares by at least 3000 shillings. Transport from Kampala to Jinja has increased from 5000 to 7000 shillings, Kampala to Iganga costs 11000 shillings from 8000ug while Kampala to Malaba costs 15,000 shillings from 12,000 shillings.
Moses Mugati, a driver of a coaster who plies the Kampala-Iganga route has resolved to stop in Jinja after his vehicle was vandalized on Monday. Mugati told URN this morning that they had decided to hike fares because of the risks they are facing as a result of the unrest. Benjamin Ssepuya, a driver of a taxi number UAP113Q, which operates along the Kampala-Mbale-Malaba route says that they decided to hike the fares because only a few taxis are operating. He explains that many of their colleagues decided to park their vehicles and monitor the situation from home for fear of being attacked by the protesters.
Ssepuya says that even the few drivers who are operating, keep making phone calls to their colleagues on the road to avoid being ambushed by the protesters. He says that drivers in Kampala are considering joining the strike because of the exorbitant fines. Ssepuya cites the 80,000 shillings fine for a driver found guilty of failing to use the seat belt. Jennifer Namogosa, a traveler to Jinja told URN that she had waited for two hours to get a taxi to her destination for 5000 shillings because she didn’t have the extra amount needed. Namugosa says that her pleas to the conduct to take her at 5000 shillings fell on deaf ears. Several passengers to the Mbale-Malaba route were stranded as there was no taxi plying the route.