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Taxis hike fares over Namugongo traffic diversions

Taxis on Kireka-Kyaliwajjala road

Taxis on Kireka-Kyaliwajjala road

Traffic diversions caused by the huge number of pilgrims arriving for Martyrs Day celebrations at Namugongo have led to a hike in transport fares.

For example, vehicles from Kireka to Kyaliwajjala and Namugongo including those from Kampala heading to Sonde, Goma, Masindye, Nabusugwe and Bukerere have been directed to use Mbalwa road, join Bweyogerere-Butto road or use Kireka-Bweyogerere and join Sonde which has made the journeys longer. 

In response, taxis that have been charging Shs 2,000 from Kireka to Namugongo are now charging Shs 3,000. Taxis from Kireka to Sonde, Goma, Misindye, Jogo and Bukerere have increased the fares from Shs 3,000 to Shs 4,000. Most of the taxis and buses from Old Taxi Park heading to Namugongo, Kira, Bulindo, Bukerere, Sonde, Namusugwe, Kasaayi up to Mayangayanga have increased fares by Shs 1,000.

“We have been charging Shs 2,000 to transport passengers from Agenda to Bukerere because we’re using the main road of Kyaliwajjala, Namugongo–Sonde. But now we’re passing in Mbalwa, Butto, and St Luke to connect to Sonde. This journey has doubled and we have increased the fares by Shs 1,000,” Martin Muluwa a taxi driver at Agenda said.

Boda boda riders have also doubled the charges. From Kyaliwajjala to Kireka, boda boda riders have been charging Shs 2,000 but they are now charging Shs 4,000. From Kyaliwajjala to Namugongo Anglican shrine boda boda riders who are using Semambo road are charging Shs 5,000.

“This is the time we have also to make some money. It comes once in a year and we cannot keep charging the same amount. The journeys have not increased so much but we are using dusty roads and we have to compensate for that,” said Fik a boda boda rider.

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Abbas Byakagaba, who has toured the Catholic and Anglican shrines urged pilgrims to remain vigilant and focused while at any of the venues. All pilgrims, according to police, must familiarize themselves with emergency exits for use when necessary, watch the body language of all people around them and exercise caution when revealing their location online. 

Fred Enanga, police spokesperson urged pilgrims to always carry an ID or other identification documents, keep an eye on their personal belongings and avoid leaving elders or children alone.

“For instance, two children strayed away from their parents, but were traced, recovered and reunited with their mothers. Be aware of strangers, ensure your mobile phone is fully charged, let your family and friends know where you are. All persons with disabilities should know that preparations have been made for them,” Enanga said.

At the Catholic shrine, organizers from Nebbi Diocese have a deficit of Shs 100 million out of the more than Shs 1 billion needed to organize a successful event while at the Anglican, Bishop Reuben Kisembo, of Rwenzori Diocese promised to have a memorable event even though they had a deficit of more than Shs 500 million of their planned budget.

Bishop Kisembo also said a team of 300 choir members from six dioceses within the Ruwenzori cluster has set camp at Makerere University ahead of the celebrations. He said that the choir asked to arrive early so they could harmonize to ensure that all their voices blended well.

He added that each of the six dioceses making up the Ruwenzori Cluster was required to bring 50 members. They are camped at Livingstone Hall. 

“The Midwestern cluster has a variety of languages, so we have various traditional dances that will be displayed on Martyrs Day,” Rev. Kisembo stated

Police said operations targeting criminals have yielded results as they were yet to register cases of pilgrims who have been attacked or robbed of their belongings. Security commanded by SP Brighton Ahimbisamukama arrested over 60 suspects in operations that started on Sunday night up to Tuesday.

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