BY SHARON AKELLO
As schools plan to reopen for sub-candidates on March 1, 2021, a number of parents in Lira City are worried about how their children will resume to schools following the doubled transport fares.
According to them, many parents majorly in the out to reach areas may fail to transport their children back to school due to the heavy cost levied on transport by the operators of the public service vehiclePSVS].
Mrs. Christine Ajwang, a resident of Kakoge A, village, Lira City West Division in Lira City and a mother of 4 whose two children studies in Kampala expressed dismay on how she will transport her children back to school due to the doubled transport fares.
“Am so much worried about how we are going to transport of children to schools because of the increased transport fares. For instance, before Covid 19, I used to spend Shs.40,000 in transporting my two children to Kampala for studies but as I speak now, the price has increased to Shs.80,000 of which many of us may fail to afford following the disruption of our business by Covid 19,” Mrs.Ajwang told Daily Monitor on Thursday in an interview.
Mrs. Ketty Atim, a business woman who operates a shop at Lira Main market said it’s improper for public transporters to continue cheating the public yet they are at the moment carrying more passengers than the recommended half capacity.
“At times the operators of the vehicles tend to hike the prices and yet when they are illegally carrying full capacity of the passengers without reducing the fares. This is really unfair and the Government must do something so agent about it,” She added.
However Mr. Obura Deo, a guardian blamed the enforcement team majorly the police traffic department of the unfair charges being levied on passengers and yet when the operators of the vehicles are carrying full capacity of the passengers.
“In most cases the operators of the vehicles shouldn’t be blamed over the doubled transport fares while carrying full capacity of the passengers but it’s the Government through its organ of the police for failure to implement and perform their duties,” He added.
Mr Benard Anyeko Matsanga, the spokesperson for Lira Urban Transporters Union, a company that is managing Lira bus/taxi Park said they have not doubled any transport fare but instead maintained the price that they had agreed should be charged according to the travel distances following the implementation by the Government that all vehicles must only carry half capacity of passengers.
“We have not increased transport fares neither has it been reduced because following the directive that was issued by the president that all vehicles must carry half capacity passengers. So for now we are still maintaining the same prices we agreed that should be charged on each passenger according to the travel distances,” Mr. Anyeko told Daily Monitor on Thursday in an interview.
He said as transport operators, they are only carrying half capacity while observing the standard operating procedures.
He urged the parents to ensure to ensure provide their children with face masks, sanitizers so that they are protected from contracting Covid 19.
Ministry of Education on February 11, 2021 released the official timetable for reopening of schools in a phased manner to manage the learners in the face of Covid-19 as they close the 2020 academic year.
According to the ministry’s schedule, the sub candidate classes of Primary Six, Senior Three and Senior Five will report first on March 1 and study for 14 weeks, breaking off on May 21.
Primary Four and Five classes will study for eight weeks starting on April 6 after Primary Leaving Examinations and end on June 4 to create space for lower primary pupils in Primary 1, 2, and 3 to come in on June 7.
Whereas Primary 1, 2, and 3 will study for eight weeks which end on July 24.
When President Yoweri Museveni re-opened public transport in June and directed that they operate at half capacity to curb the spread of Coronavirus as they observe the standard operating procedure, operators of the public transport across the country doubled the fare to meet the cost of operation since they were only allowed to carry half capacity of passengers.
For instance before the outbreak of Covid 19, transport cost from Lira-Kampala would go at Shs.20,000 but now it’s at Shs.40,000.Lira-Kamdini would go at Shs.7,000 but now it’s at Shs.15,000.From Lira-Gulu used to be at Shs.12,000 but now it’s at Shs.25,000 and from Lira –Soroti used to go at Shs.10,000 but now it has increased to Shs,20,000 among some other parts.