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No vaccine mandate for passengers before boarding taxis, buses – Minister Katumba Wamala

The proposed increase in bus prices by bus firms has been halted by Works and Transport Minister Gen. Katumba Wamala. (IMAGE: Courtesy | theKR Media)  KAMPALA

The proposed increase in bus prices by bus firms has been halted by Works and Transport Minister Gen. Katumba Wamala (PHOTO/Courtesy)

The minister of Works and Transport, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, has said for now passengers will not be required to be vaccinated before they can use public transport.

While addressing the nation on Friday, December 31, 2021, President Museveni allowed the full resumption of public transport but said the passengers would be required to present vaccination cards before boarding taxis and buses.

But addressing journalists at the media centre in Kampala on Wednesday, 05 January 2022, Gen Katumba said for now, it’s the taxi and bus operators who will be required to be vaccinated before transporting people.

“Although the President allowed public transport to work fully, I would like to emphasize the SOPs. The people working on the buses must be fully vaccinated and able to present the vaccination cards anytime,” he said.

“The minimum you can do is have your mask on when traveling. Police will be checking. They have a right to end that travel. Brokers and touts are strictly forbidden at the terminals.

It would also be good for the passengers to be vaccinated. Do not go to Nasser Road to buy a certificate. You may buy it cheaply but cost you your life,” Gen Wamala added.

The minister further explained that they have met the taxi and bus operators and agreed on the transport fares.

“We have met the taxi and bus operators. We have agreed on the transport fares that they will communicate on the respective routes,” he explained.

“All taxis and buses are supposed to work at designated points. I want to urge parents and children to take taxis from designated taxi and bus parks. Only board taxis and buses from their designated parks. There are crooks operating outside terminals,” he added.

Rashid Ssekindi from the Federation of Uganda Taxi Operators Association, who addressed the media alongside the minister, also said they have made a slight increase on the transport fares.

“We have agreed that on top of the fares that we were charging in 2019, we are going to add something because of so many factors that changed,” he said.

“The margin increase ranges from UGX 5000 to UGX 10,000. We want the passengers to bear with us,” he added.

But he warned the taxi and bus drivers against overcharging parents and children.

“We are also parents. We also don’t have money to take our children back to school. Why should we overcharge fellow parents? We are going to release the agreed-upon transport fares. If anyone charges more, report to the police,” he explained.

The minister also said there will be temporary removal of the curfew when children are returning to school to enable them and parents to travel to different parts of the country where the schools are located.

Schools across the country will reopen in a staggered manner for five days starting January 10, 2022.

The President on December 31, 2022, stated that curfew will be permanently lifted two weeks after the reopening of schools.

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