Bus drivers and operators plying upcountry routes have staged a strike to protest the unfair treatment by the Transport Licensing Board -TLC. They accuse the Transport Licensing Board of impounding their fleet of buses each time one of its buses is involved in an accident instead of impounding the affected bus. They insist that accidents are unavoidable and the Transport Licensing Board should be aware of it.
Ephraim Tushabe, the operations manager Link Buses says that he has grounded 35 out of the 47 buses in his fleet. He says that the remaining buses will also be grounded once they off load passengers. Tushabe complains that it is unfair for the Transport Licensing Board to ground his entire fleet each time one of his buses gets involved in an accident.
Joel Ssekiddu, manager Teso Bus Company argues that it is pointless for the Transport Licensing Board to ground their buses each time one of them gets involved in an accident because the board has failed to carry out the mandatory inspection.
Ssekiddu explains that instead the Transport Licensing Board asks drivers to carry out inspection and pass on the information to the board. He says that at times of accidents the board then rushes to impound all their buses which takes about three weeks to have them cleared, which is unfair as many bus companies are servicing loans.
However, not all bus companies have joined the strike. Edward Kiyimba, the manager white coach says that he decided to shun the strike because when his buses were impounded in 2001 none of the other operators stood by him.
The driver’s strike has left several passengers stranded. James Muhindo, a business from Kasese says told URN that he was stuck with his merchandise worth shillings 20 million because of the strike. Muhindo says that he had planned to deliver his goods to Kasese but the he has been hit hard by the strike yet he cannot use Taxis.
Another traveler, James Opoka, a teacher from Gulu Central primary school says that he had come to pick results of pupils from his school but he was left stranded without any means to travel back.
It is not yet clear, when the operators will call off their strike despite the fact they are scheduled to meet officials from the transport ministry. Winston Katushabe, secretary Transport Licensing Board declined to comment on strike since they were yet to meet with the operators.