Bus Operators’ Strike: Fare Hikes Strand Commuters for Third Day

Scores of commuters found themselves stranded in Kampala as an unexpected strike by bus operators extended into its third day on Thursday. This unforeseen strike has had an immediate and profound impact. Thousands of people have been left without transportation, and businesses that rely on or are connected to the bus transport system are suffering financial losses.

At the same time, the strike has once again highlighted the urgent need for a proper and regulated mass transit system in the country, though it comes at a considerable cost to the traveling public.

Table: Transport Fares to Different Routes as of August 23, 2023

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RouteBus Fare (Shs)Taxi Fare (Shs)Omnibus Fare (Shs)
Mbarara30,00090,00070,000
Gulu35,00050,00040,000
Lira35,00050,00040,000
Arua50,00070,00050,000
Amuru50,00060,00060,000
Nebbi40,00040,00040,000
Yumbe65,00070,00065,000
Kitgum40,00040,00040,000
Soroti35,00040,00040,000
Kabale40,00045,00045,000
Rukungiri40,00045,00040,000
Ibanda35,00035,00035,000
Kagadi30,00050,00040,000
Masindi20,00030,00025,000
Hoima25,00030,00025,000
Bushenyi40,00050,00045,000
Fort Portal40,00045,00040,000
Kasese50,00050,00050,000
Kyegewa25,00030,00030,000
Ntungamo35,00040,00035,000
Kamwenge45,00050,00050,000
Bushenyi40,00060,00050,000
Kyegewa25,00035,00030,000
Kagadi30,00030,00030,000

At all six city bus terminals, including Global, Kisenyi, Namayiba, Link, Tausi, and Kalita, many travelers were observed with their luggage, uncertain about their next steps. For some, the option of taking one of the few available 14-seater taxis or 30-seat coasters was a possibility, but it came at a higher cost.

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Taxi operators quickly seized the opportunity presented by the transportation emergency and doubled, and in some cases, tripled their fares. This left those who couldn’t afford the new rates in a difficult situation.

Frustrated commuters like Rebecca Nabwe, who was planning to travel to Mbarara, were impacted. She expressed her frustration with the inflated transport fares imposed by taxis.

“We are suffering. A coaster [omnibus] to Mbarara now costs Shs70,000, and a taxi costs Shs90,000, up from Shs30,000 when using a bus. I can’t travel to see my parents; I will wait until the situation normalizes because I can’t afford the fares,” said Ms. Nabwe.

Another affected traveler, Mr. Brian Ogwok, who was headed to Lira District, decried the sudden spike in transport fares and called on the government to intervene.

“The taxi operators are taking advantage of the bus operators’ strike and exploiting desperate travelers. Authorities

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