By Mariam Namakula
After a period of three months without work in March towards June 2020, Government threatens to lock down the public transport sector due to their continued violation of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the prevention of the spread of Covid 19
While at The Uganda Media Center, the police spokesperson Patrick Onyango said that many reports from the public and the security organs have shown an increasing risk of the spread of covid 19 especially by the public transport sector.
According to Mustafah Mayambala, one of the representatives from the public transport sector SACCOs, many taxi operators have ignored the SOPs and have resumed to business as usual.
“Drivers no longer practice social distancing, carry sanitizers and yet still count for the same fares.” Mustafah added
Public transport sector resumed operations in early June following a total shut down that begun in March 2020, and saw many sectors shut down due to the presidential directives.
However, following the unprecedented increase in the number of covid 19 spread, The Ministry of Health, transport, security and taxi operators have agreed on reinforcing guidelines which included, carrying half of their original passenger number to emphasize the issue of social distance, each passenger wearing a mask and providing sanitizers by the operators to ensure the revised trend.
Onyango said, any person who unlawfully or does any act of negligence which may result into the spread of covid 19 commits an offence and is liable to seven years in prison if charged by the courts of law according to the panel code act section171.
“We shall use the laws of Uganda to arrest and prosecute offenders especially passers, drivers, conductors and the Passengers who do not follow the SOPs,” said Onyango.
Onyango also noted that they’re many private cars that have been spotted carrying many passengers on centrally to the recommended passengers and therefore these should desist from breaking the law.
“Private cars that are not licensed especially the Toyota wish along Kampala- Masaka, Busia – Kampala and the Tricycle in Nakawuka should stop immediately,” said oyango
Despite the previous challenges, Onyango noted that with full support from taxi and public transport sector representatives reinforcement of these covid 19 regulations will be emphasized and ensure safety of all passenger lives.
Mustafah Mayambala Chairperson Uganda Transport Development Association said, at least four taxi operators have lost their lives and many still being treated in hospitals.
Oyango said, passengers shouldn’t board taxi which don’t use the taxi park and have no stages.
“Drivers who don’t have stages will be arrested and excess Passengers will be charged therefore they should resist from boarding such vehicles,” Onyango added.
Despite the fact that many businesses are still in lockdown, the transport sector has been operational and expected to put in place all the SOPs put in place by the government.