According to the plan, KCCA is supposed to work on the carpet or floor of the park, install 15 shelters measuring 1.5 meters where passengers can sit or stand to wait for taxis, construct two walkways, work on the drainage system, renovate office space, construct toilets and install security lights. Major works like the carpet layer and the drainage system have been completed.
Godfrey Mukalazi, a driver at Makerere Stage says many of them are losing the hope of returning to the Kampala Old Taxi Park which was closed more
than a year ago to pave way for its renovation.
was closed by Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA during the first COVID-19 lockdown in May 2020. The authorised had estimated that the work would last three months and that taxis' would be allowed to return to the park in August, the same year. However, works were delayed prompting the Authority
to set new deadlines which they still missed.
According to the plan, KCCA is supposed to work on the
carpet or floor of the park, install 15 shelters measuring 1.5 meters where
passengers can sit or stand to wait for taxis, construct two walkways, work on
the drainage system, renovate office space, construct toilets and
install security lights. Major works like the carpet layer and the drainage system
have been completed.
But in October 2020, KCCA was sued by five companies for allegedly trespassing on their land
and refusing to honour an agreement for their compensation. Consequently, the court granted a temporary injunction
barring KCCA and the government from acting on the land.
Mukalazi says, when KCCA started changing re-opening
dates, rumours circulated that someone wants to take the park land. He says that they
are now receiving conflicting information from KCCA officials some of whom insist that the
park shall be reopened while others said, they cannot act contrary to court orders.
Mukalazi says that they were thrown out on congested streets where they do not have sufficient
operating space and no leadership to ensure some level of organisation. He
adds, on the streets, they compete for the same customers with taxi operators who initially had no space in the park.
//Cue in; "Nze ndi mudereeva...
Cue out...tulindirira kyiddako."//
KCCA allocated taxis to Burton Street, Mini
Price, Nakivubo Mews and cooper complex to operate during the time of the construction of the taxi park. Mukalazi adds that operators seem to have lost a decent place and left
for an inconveniencing street life where they often collide with KCCA enforcement
//Cue in; "Ate batusongamu ennwe...
Cue out...mubuufu bwa KCCA."//
Herbert Wasswa, a guide at Kawempe Stage says that operating in the parks was easier
because of the level of organisation that saw each guide kept at their respective
stage. He says that on the streets, they get into arguments with street guides from
different stages as they scramble for passengers.
//Cue in; "Tubeera bulungi nga...
Cue out...ku stage yaayo."//
Another driver, Umar Kimbugwe, says that there is not enough space for multiple
taxis to park on the streets and that having multiple taxis parked
on the streets contributes to the traffic challenge in Kampala. He asked KCCA to
find them a solution.
//Cue in; "Okusigala nga baggadde...
Cue out...mukakuubo kano"//
Vincent Iga from Nakulabye also says that there is very little space on the streets
compared to the number of taxis operating there which makes it hard for them to
Rashid Sekindi, the Chairman of Uganda Taxi
Operators Federation (Utofe), a union of taxi associations says that they have
a scheduled meeting with KCCA next week where issues of the Park shall be
discussed. He says they are waiting for KCCA’s guidelines adding that they are
not concerned about the court case and the orders since taxi operators are not
part of the taxi operators.
But the KCCA Deputy Spokesperson Robert Kalumba said
without divulging details that taxis would soon return to the park. Once renovations are completed, the park will
accommodate 344 taxis from the previous number estimated at 400 taxis.