Bus operators have deployed more buses upcountry in response to the increased demand ahead of the school reopening on Monday. Schools are expected to resume on January 10th, 2022 following the nearly two-year closure as part of the COVID-19 containment measures.
Several buses have been booked in advance at their upcountry offices for more than three days thus exerting pressure on the buses to hastily depart from different terminals in the city with fewer passengers to attend to the learners returning to school.
Fred Eregu, a booking clerk with Larem Safaris, which operates on the Northern route, says that they have been experiencing low passenger turn-up in Kampala since Saturday forcing them to deploy more buses upcountry. He says they are currently charging Shillings 30,000 from Shillings 35,000 from Kampala to Gulu but the fares are conversely higher.
Mimi Ahmed, the Manager of Nile Star Bus plying the West Nile route, says that they are charging the revised rate of Shillings 50,000 from Shillings 35,000 from Kampala to Arua, adding that they have dispatched more buses upcountry to respond to the booking pressure.
Anthony Oliri, an official with Kakise Bus Services Ltd at Namayiba Park that operates from Kampala to Soroti via Mbale, says that they have lowered fares for passengers from Shillings 30,000 to 25,000 despite high fuel prices but expect to bridge the gaps with higher charges due to more upcountry bookings.
Justus Alionzi, a traveler who had arrived at the Nile Bus Terminal along Bombo Road confirmed to URN the fares from Arua to Kampala have increased from Shillings 50,000 to 60,000 and the charges are expected to increase as students scramble for transport.
The situation is not any different at Kisenyi Bus Terminal for buses plying the Western route. Speaking to URN, Alex Mubangizi, a booking agent with Bismarkan Coaches, said they are equally affected by the passenger low-turn-up in Kampala.
Mubangizie says the passengers are being charged between Shillings 35,000 to 60,000 but the fare will inevitably skyrocket due to the increased number of students traveling along the Kisoro-Mabara- Ntungamo-Rukungiri-Kibaale route.
Notable, the operators say they are still facing difficulties to implement the revised transport fares that were announced early this month along the major routes because the high fuel prices have persisted despite the reopening of the economy that allows them to carry passengers at full capacity.
Throughout the extended lockdown period spanning March 2020 to December 2021, Government restricted taxis and buses to carry passengers at half capacity to curb the spread of the virus disease.