As a measure to reduce the increasing traffic congestion in Kampala, City authorities are planning to introduce a congestion levy within the Kampala Central Business District.
According to Andrew Kitaka, the Acting Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Executive Director, the measure is aimed at reducing traffic jam, reduce the need to drive personal cars and the need to unnecessarily move into Central Business District.
Kitaka, who was speaking during the 4th Edition of the Innovation Series at Golf Course Hotel said Kampala’s day population hovers between 4 million to 5.2 million people. Kampala’s night population is around 2 million.
The innovation Series are organized every year by BrainChild BCW one of the leading public relations firm in Uganda. This year’s series was conducted under the theme “Fast-Tracking Infrastructure Project Completion Through Innovation.”
“One of the biggest challenges facing Kampala City right now is traffic congestion and quality of life. To curb traffic congestion, we are thinking of introducing a congestion charge for any vehicle entering the central business district.
“The good thing is, the technology is now available, Police has installed cameras that have number plate recognition technology that will help us in implementing these charges,” said Kitaka.
He added that they are also working on a traffic control centre that will be constructed through a grant from the government of Japan.
“The Kampala flyover project has started. We intend to rearrange and improve public transport. We have started this by improving many junctions with traffic signals. We intend to improve more 30 junctions with in the city with traffic signals. This will also curb congestion,” said Kitaka.
Kitaka said the 11 months he has been in charge of Kampala City have not come without challenges like acquiring the right of way for many of their projects including expansion and tarmacking of roads.
“Matatus and Boda Bodas are too many causing most of the congestion. We want to re-introduce a high capacity transport system like bus transport and rail transport.
“However, we have made three advertisements for investors in bus transport that have been ignored because we don’t have bus transport lanes which makes the investment not viable,” said Kitaka.
Andrew Mwenda, a veteran journalist, who was also on the panel, said traffic jams in Kampala are turning the city roads into parking lots.
Mwenda said Congestion in Kampala is not only an engineering challenge but also a physiology challenge that must be tackled by encouraging the growth of other satellite cities and also encouraging people to stay in skyscrapers like it is in HongKong.
“Kampala is surrounded by water. Why don’t we encourage water transport by putting up incentives for investors to invest in ferries? If water transport is developed, there would be no need for a person travelling to Masaka, Entebbe, Jinja, Mayuge or Rakai to use road transport,” said Mwenda.
Mwenda said some government departments and ministries can also be decongested from the city by relocating them out of Kampala City.
Paul Isaac Musasizi the Chief Executive Officer of Kiira Motor Corporation said they intend to roll out their Kayoola buses next year a move that will heavily decongest the city.
BY PAUL TENTENA