If implemented perfectly, the project will introduce the automated bus fare system in Uganda, which the operators say, will reduce fraud and the unfair impromptu fare increments by taxis.
Maurice Mukiibi, the Communications and Marketing Manager Tondeka, says they hope the introduction of buses will encourage more people to leave their cars home and travel by bus, hence reducing congestion.
Kayoola Diesel Coach
More than 1000 buses, largely locally-made could be plying
the roads between Kampala and neighboring districts later this
year, courtesy of a joint venture investment by Kiira Motor Corporation (KMC),
Tondeka Metro Company Limited, RentCo Africa Limited (RentCo) and Xiamen Golden
Dragon Bus Co. Ltd.
The four have been in discussion for more than a
year, to get the project going, and this has culminated into the formation of
Tondeka Bus Transport Company Limited, a special purpose vehicle, SPV. If perfectly implemented, the project will introduce the
automated bus fare system in Uganda, which the operators say, will reduce fraud
and the unfair impromptu fare increments by taxis.
According to reports, it is estimated that two million people travel
to and from Kampala City, on top of the about two million residents that move
within the city every day. Of these, 82 per cent travel by minibuses, nine per cent in private cars and nine per cent
The Tondeka Bus will operate two types of buses, one being
the Express Bus, which will have fewer and permanent stops, and the Regular Bus
which will stop along the routes as and when demanded. They hope that together with the city authorities, the
stages and lanes will have been demarcated by the time the buses are
Maurice Mukiibi, the Communications and Marketing Manager of Tondeka,
says they hope the introduction of buses will encourage more people to leave
their cars home and travel by bus, hence reducing congestion in Kampala. He says that the buses will charge a single travel fare,
with a single trip ticket costing 2,500 Shillings.
The daily, weekly and monthly tickets are categorised into
two, Standard and Freedom.
The daily Standard ticket will cost 6,000 Shillings while the daily
Freedom costs 8,000 Shillings.
The Weekly Standard ticket will cost 30,000 Shillings while
freedom travellers will pay 40,000 Shillings a week. A standard traveller will end their journey at the designation
Tondeka terminal, while the Freedom traveller will board a taxi along the feeder
road to their destination. The Taxis will be incorporated and paid for by Tondeka.
Tondeka plans to introduce a payment card dubbed the Tondeka
Metro Card, which was developed by payments company UnionPay and a technology
firm, SCINTL Ltd. The passenger will swipe the bus fare credit card over a
machine that will acknowledge payment.
According to the plan, the standard route refers to all main
Kampala Metropolitan Roads, while Freedom route travellers will have additional
taxis to move them from the Tondeka destination to the feeder roads. Through the SPV, the plan is to launch and
implement the Mass Transit Bus System for the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area
The buses will be domestically manufactured
by Kiira Motors, the maker of the electric power vehicles, Kiira EV and the Kayoola electric
bus, according to a highly placed source close to the negotiations. The buses will be built at the Kiira Plant with
Golden Dragon leading the provision of technology, while Rentco will finance the 1,030 buses with a
cashless ticketing system and lease them to the SPV.
The four have now drawn a roadmap towards
the realisation of the project, with 350 buses expected to be deployed on the
streets of Kampala on or by October 20, this year.
The rest of the 1,030 buses will be deployed in
February 2022, according to the action plan of the partners. Gazetting of the bus routes and stages will be
completed by July 2, this year. At least 50 of the buses will be Electric for the
Mass Transit Bus System (MTBS) Project in the Greater Kampala Metropolitan
The project, a direct response to the challenges
facing Kampala and other urban authorities, is planned to be independent and
self-sufficient, securing its own cash for its sustainability. The companies insist that the government shall
have no direct liability in the operationalisation of the SPV.
If well and fully implemented, the plan will
create 62,000 jobs directly and indirectly including engineers, welders,
painters, designers, architects, lawyers, accountants, Economists, Logistics
and Supply chain managers, auditors, human resources managers, sales
executives, marketers, drivers, stewards and cleaners.
It is also expected it will improve passenger
boarding and alighting times and reduce overall waiting and travel times to
between 30 minutes and one hour on each trip. Currently, the taxi system travel/waiting time is
more than 1.3 hours.