By Derrick Wadria
On Monday morning the Police cordoned off the old taxi park following allegations that taxi drivers and conductors were to hold a demonstration against the renovations in the park.
Following the Minister for Kampala, Betty Amongi, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) proposal to bar bodabodas and taxis from resuming operations in Kampala for another 28 and 42 days respectively when the national lockdown is lifted the transporters last week held a press conference and promised to demonstrate if the works commence on the park.
On Friday the Amalgamated Transport and General Workers Union (ATGWU) General Secretary Stephen Abima requested the government to cancel all there plans and concentrate on fighting Covid-19.
“The workers livelihood is at stake, this is not the right time to bring in such proposals yet the whole country is fighting war against the sptead of Covid-19 epidemic. I therefore call upon KCCA and MoTW to withdraw this proposal by Monday and if not then the transporters are ready to react,” said Abima on Friday
Practically if you live in Kampala, you must have gone through the Old Taxi Park, at some point you will agree it is chaotic with noise from taxi touts, and vendors on every corner of the park.
It has passengers wandering from one taxi stage to another looking for taxis to their destinations and there are no shelters nor seats for passengers, limited signs, and poor lighting.
In spite of this dire state, over 200,000 people commute daily through the Park to connect to different destinations within the greater Kampala metropolitan area and beyond.
The plan has been in place even before the former Executive Director of KCCA Jennifer Musisi resigned and in her comment on the KCCA website in 2018 she said,
“The remodeling of the taxi park is one of KCCA’s interventions aimed at improving the operations and passenger experience at bus and taxi parks. The renovated Taxi Park will increase the economic potential of more than 25,000 people who work in this area. This will benefit passengers, taxi drivers, conductors, food vendors and small business owners.”
Some of the benefits of a remodeled taxi park are that residents of Kampala will enjoy a better travel experience. The infrastructure within the park will be improved land use with transit terminals.
A mixture of commercial spaces, multi-level car parking facilities, vehicles leaving to a given destination will be found in the same place within the taxi park, passengers information will be clearly displayed to guide users; Passenger safety will be enhanced with raised walkways for pedestrians and well-lit spaces.
In addition, the park will have amenities such as clean public toilets, shopping areas and green space rest areas.
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