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Traffic Police in Gulu Intensifies Enforcement of SOPs on Public Transport

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.
ASP Jimmy Patrick Okema, the Aswa Region Police Spokesperson

Audio 3

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 resuming studies.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.