Minibus Taxi Operators in Kampala Ready to Engage on BRT Plan
During an initial Consultative Forum facilitated by ODA in January 2020, representatives from the minibus taxi industry and local government met to discuss the current state and future vision of the urban mobility system in the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area. Upon conclusion of the forum the taxi operators confirmed their readiness to engage on the Kampala BRT plan.
Representatives of the three main minibus taxi associations in Kampala namely, COTODA (Commercial Taxi Owners and Transporters Development Association), KOTSA (Kampala Operational Taxi Stages Association) and UTRADA (Uganda Transport Development Agency), participated in a Consultative Forum meeting held at the Holiday Express Hotel in downtown Kampala on 22 January 2020.
The forum was convened under the auspices of the AFD (Agence Française de Développement) funded project, Paratransit and Street Usage Improvement in preparation for the BRT pilot project in the GKMA. This project, led by the Transitec – Suez consortium, is aimed at modernising the paratransit sector, mapping the public transport network and streamlining street uses.
The Consultative Forum was also attended by representatives of the MoWT (Ministry of Works and Transport) including the TLB (Transport Licensing Board), KCCA (Kampala City Council Authority), the MoLG (Ministry of Local Government), the Uganda Police Force and the following local authorities: Mukono Municipal Council, Makindye Municipal Council, Entebbe Municipal Council.
The forum was chaired by Amanda Ngabirano (Urban Planning lecturer at Makarere University and well-known gender, NMT and cycling activist) and facilitated by Nico McLachlan and Margaux Granjard from the Cape Town based paratransit reform and BRT implementation specialist company, ODA, a member of the Transitec – Suez consortium.
The purpose of the first Consultative Forum was to:
- Initiate discussions on stakeholders’ views of the current state of and future vision for the urban mobility system in Kampala, establish interest in the improvement of the Kampala urban mobility system and assess the readiness to improve the paratransit supply model as an integrated part of the overall urban mobility system; and
- Learn from relevant experiences in other African cities as a basis for developing the urban mobility situation in Kampala. In this context, the facilitators provided delegates with case studies in which they were involved such as: paratransit modernisation in Cape Town (RSA), BRT implementation and paratransit participation in Johannesburg (RSA) and Polokwane (RSA), urban mobility improvement in Nairobi and Mombasa (KE) and public transport business model improvement in Kigali (RW).
In discussing the current urban mobility challenges in the GKMA, Gad Mugisha from COTODA raised the issue of over-taxation of the taxi industry. In later deliberations, Ssekindi Rashid from KOTSA made an appeal for support from the Government to provide and maintain infrastructure aimed at alleviating chronic traffic jams. Mustafa Mayambala from UTRADA spoke about division among the taxi operator groups and the need for unification. This sentiment was echoed by the other associations.
The three associations confirmed their willingness to work hand-in-hand with the Government to harmonise the planned BRT and current taxi supply model and asked Government to commit to ongoing consultation and involvement of the taxi industry. A second Consultative Forum meeting will be held in March 2020.