There was excitement in Kampala yesterday March 12th 2012 as 100 buses from Pioneer Easy Bus rode into the city as an intervention to rescue stranded passengers following an announced strike by a section of taxi drivers. The taxi strike was to start yesterday to protest the allegedly high fees charged by KCCA and was meant to paralyze city transport and force KCCA to climb down on these fares.
It is understood that in a bid to contain the situation, authorities allowed Pioneer Easy Bus to hit the road and assist stranded passengers and on monday morning, 100 buses snaked out their Namboole parking to offer transport across several city routes. Passengers were visibly excited about the low rates offered by buses with a standard fee of 800/= across city routes, almost half of what is traditionally charged by taxis. The Chinese manufactured Yutong buses have a capacity of 61 passengers with 30 seats and 31 standing. The few taxis that didn’t join the strike were seen busy jostling for passengers with buses and have vowed to compete by reviewing their rates.
Pioneer Easy Bus Company was contracted by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to manage the city bus transport system and should have launched service by March 1st but its operations were halted following a petition to parliament over the company status and protestations by a parliamentary committee citing irregularities in the current contract. For over a month, the first batch of 100 buses have been parked waiting for clearance.