Jimmy Patrick Okema, the Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson says that they impounded Friendship Bus registration KCT 702G from Gulu going to Kampala on Wednesday morning from Layibi Check Point in Gulu City while carrying passengers full board.
The Traffic Police in Gulu has intensified enforcement of standard
operating procedures on public transport.
After public transport resumed last year, transporters have been loading
passengers to full capacity and charged them double despite public outcry. The
vice is being perpetrated even at this period where semi –candidates are
Jimmy Patrick Okema, the Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson
says that they impounded Friendship Bus registration KCT 702G from Gulu going
to Kampala on Wednesday morning from Layibi Check Point in Gulu City while
carrying passengers full board.
Okema said the excess passengers were offloaded and asked to board
another bus and that the management of the bus company was warned before
releasing the bus.
// Cue in: “All the excess…
Cue out …them another bus.” //
Okema added that they also impounded Crown Bus registration number
UAQ 409D from Juba heading to Kampala. The bus had 12 excess passengers who
were also offloaded. He also revealed that the conductor of the bus is still in
police custody for questioning.
According to Okema, the enforcement shall continue for as long as
the ban of carrying passengers to full capacity is lifted by the government.
// Cue in: “We encourage members…
Cue out …people understand that.” //
Geoffrey Osborn Ocheng, the Amuru Resident District Commissioner
said they have also scaled up enforcement of the SOPs on public transport in
Amuru since transporters and passengers were being relaxed and not adhering to
the guidelines put in place to avoid the spread of COVID -19.
Geoffrey Okello, the Administrator of Gulu Coach Bus Company said
traffic police had been relaxed in inspecting public vehicles to ensure that
they adhere to the SOPs and yet they have all the powers of doing.
According to Okello, Gulu Coach Bus has been following the SOPs
that include passengers wearing facemasks, having their temperature measured
and social distancing while on the bus.
// Cue in: “We have been…
Cue out …one person seated.” //
Ben Akera, one of the passengers accompanying his daughter to a
school in Kampala says the reopening of schools has sparked a mass movement of
passengers especially parents and students who are flocking bus terminals and
the desire by transport operators to make quick bucks.
Deborah Namusoke, a disgruntled passenger asserts that
due to weak law enforcement, the guideline is being flouted by public transport
operators with impunity. They charge between 30,000-40,000 Shillings from
Gulu to Kampala and 60,000 Shillings from Kitgum to Kampala.
In October 2020, the Government through the Ministry of Health directed buses
with 69 seaters and 14-seater commuter taxis at half capacity. This implies
that the vehicles should carry between 31-35 or 7 passengers respectively to
observe the social distancing rules.
Ochola's journalism career begun from Radio King 90.2 FM in Gulu around 2009, and Radio Rupiny 95.7 Fm under Vision Group in 2012. He also reported for Mighty Fire 91.5 Fm, Kitgum in 2015 before joining Wizarts Foundation in 2017.
He has been reporting for Uganda Radio Network (URN) since 2017 before being posted as Bureau Chief Kitgum, and latr Gulu between 2018 - 2021. Currently, he reports from Parliament.