A ride on public transport motorcycle system famously known as boda boda in Uganda’s capital Kampala is one thing that stays on the memory of people visiting the city for the first time.
In most times its thrilling to ride with a friend on the same bike as it’s also cost cutting, aenturous and it saves time to hitch one ride.
Kampala over the years has become to be synonymous with the speeding two wheeler whisking travelers in different direction as they go about their business.
However following fresh regulatory decisions taken by Uganda police hitching a boda boda without following the new directives could leave you parting with a hefty monetary fine or land you in prison.
In a stringent move, the police gave punitive directive which will prevent two or more passengers from boarding the same motorcycle, carrying animals, poultry, and merchandise and bulk luggage on the two wheelers.
The boda boda riders continue to receive bashing from members of public and authority for being one the leading causes of road accidents in the country.
Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander, Andrew Felix Kawesi, last week delivered the directive at a press briefing where he warned boda boda rider and customer to desist from overloading the machine because it’s risky and exposes life to danger.
“The new rules are aimed at saving lives,” said Kaweesi told the press
“The issue of overloading seems to be encouraged by the public more than the riders and since the Road Safety Act provides for the passenger also taking liability for the vice, we are now out to apply it,” Mr Kaweesi said.
When caught overloading, you will be liable to pay a fine of Ush200, 000 ($77) or be sentenced to two years of imprisonment. With such a hefty fine, you cannot risky to hitch a ride with a friend.
Kawesi believes the latest crackdown on boda boda reduce bodaboda accidents and make the whole system organized in Kampala, Entebbe, Mukono and Wakiso districts.
The new directives haven’t gone down well with cyclists who see it as a hazard and encumbrance to their business.
Few cyclists are pleased with the newly introduced policy, Samuel Lwere a bodaboda cyclist at University Hill stage in Wandegeya is not pleased at all because carrying two passengers meant more money.
“We do not have money, we are from the village to also work and earn a living accordingly. We also do not call for accidents because we care for ours and the passengers’ lives, “he said.
This is used as the fastest means of transport, and since traffic orders have been ignorant about their conducts. Majorities have been using such and endure to sit two or more regardless of the high transport charges compared to taxis.
However some cyclists like Charles Isabirye a cyclist at Makerere T-junction stage said that the other cyclists who ride two passengers are not fair because they risk their lives and those of passengers as well.
He added that they charge their passengers highly yet the amount of fuel and the distance to be covered are the same as when they would have transported one person at a time.
“I thank the police department because it has played a fair game this time, no cheating the other,” Charles noted.
Some passenger like Beatrice Kafunda a boda boda passenger are happy with the police move because some of the riders don’t serious take traffic instructions even in the congested city like Kampala.
“They always want to over speed even when they are carrying as much as a car can,” She stated.
Source : East African Business Week