Kampala Capital City Authority- KCCA has reduced the number of taxis that will be allowed in each of the taxi parks in the city as it moves to enforce physical distancing in one of the areas known to have crowds.
As part of the guidelines issued ahead of the resumption of public transport, the Minister for Kampala Metropolitan Affairs Betty Amongi said taxi’s should maintain a distance of at least two meters from each other while loading in the parks. On top of this, every taxi should have a handwashing facility while every occupant is expected to have a face mask.
KCCA started demarcating parks to show where taxis should park. By yesterday 3pm, they had completed Usafi Park, Kisenyi Parks and New Taxi Park.
According to Engineer Andrew Sserunjogi, from the KCCA Directorate of Engineering, with the new arrangement, the capacity of taxis will reduce by over two thirds. The new taxi park that had over 350 vehicles will now accommodate about 130 taxis.
Sserunjoji says taxis will not be allowed in park drive ways while space that hosted two taxis will now have one.
Sserunjogi says that the taxi’s will stay outside until there is space in the parks for them to park and load passengers. No taxi shall be allowed to load from the street he says.
Initially, KCCA had planned to find a waiting area for taxis coming to the parks. But Sserunjoji now says that taxi operators will self coordinate.
Meanwhile the reduction in number of taxi’s has sent panic among some operators who says it might be hard for them to operate. For instance, operators from the Old Taxi Park that is under renovation have particularly expressed worry.
Joseph Ssemata from Muyenga stage in the Old Taxi Park says taxi operators are desperate to resume working yet the authorities might not allow any entrants into the space. He says he would operate on the streets surrounding the old taxi park because that is where he belongs.
Khalid Lutaya, the Secretary of Mityana Mubende stage at Nateete Park says he is worried that a number of people who did not operate in parks have been registered on several stages. This is because the registration process has excluded leaders who could identify their stage members opening a window for non members to take up space amidst competition for the reduced working area.
While at Old Kampala, some of the taxi operators who had come to register revealed that they did not operate from any park. One said he had operated on roadside stages along Bulenga road for years but came to register since KCCA banned roadside stages.
KCCA has gazzetted only eight stages in Kampala including the Old taxi Park, New park, Kisenyi , Namayiba, Namirembe, Nateete, Usafi and Nakawa Park.
KCCA has identified stops where passengers can board or disembark from the taxis. Roadside stages have been banned.