The president's restriction on public transport; prohibiting taxis and bodas was quickly turned into a winning lottery by private car owners and boda bodas in Kira town, Namugongo, Wakiso district.
Since March 28, taxi drivers evading the presidential directive (at risk of being arrested) more than trippled the fare charges. Before a total presidential ban on private transport on Tuesday this week, private cars were allowed to carry up to a maximum of three people including the driver.
However, President Yoweri Museveni said this had been abused, with the private car owners charging desperate travellers exorbitantly. For instance, passengers who couldn't walk from Kira town centre to Kireka, a 10-minute drive, were charged Shs 5,000 each, which is five times the normal charge. On the same route, boda boda riders, who previously used to charge Shs 3,000, have hiked to Shs 7000 or 10,000.
Given the high risk of being intercepted along the way, drivers often asked the passengers to pay forehand. A combined enforcement personnel of police, local defence and army has been on the lookout for defiant drivers since last Saturday.
Most of the big mobile money shops in Kira centre are closed, giving chance to the small agents in the kiosks. These agents charge at least Shs 1000 for every transaction, including deposits that previously used to be free of charge.