Kampala Capital City Authority has for the umpteenth time postponed the reopening of the renovated Old Taxi Park.
Two weeks ago, KCCA issued a statement saying the park would be reopened today, Saturday but on Friday, this was reversed and the body in charge of Kampala said the reopening had been postponed until further notice.
“However, after consultations with various stakeholders, we decided to postpone the scheduled official opening to conclude engagements with taxi operators’ leadership to ensure a smooth transition and security of users,” KCCA said on Friday.
Whereas in the past, the reopening was postponed because renovation works had not yet been completed , this time round KCCA says they are still engaging taxi operators on how to smoothly return to the facility.
KCCA however said they are in the “final laps” of the engagements and that they will “soon pass the baton” over to the taxi operators.
In May last year, following the onset of the lockdown, KCCA closed the facility for renovation, an exercise they said would take only three months but the same didn’t come to pass.
Later, after complaints by taxi operators over the delays in the upgrade of the park, the KCCA spokesperson, Daniel Nuweabine said the park would be reopened by November 2020 .
“There is a section of the park which hasn’t been tarmacked and there is also electricity installation works which are currently ongoing and once this is done, we will unveil the facility to the members of the public. Our mandate as KCCA is to ensure that our people get better and safe working spaces and are happy that the Old Taxi Park has got a facelift,” Nuweabine told Daily Monitor in a phone interview.
However, this didn’t come to pass.
In February this year, the Minister for Kampala, Betty Amongi who was assessing the contract performance and progress of the works said the facility would be ready by March.
“The engineers have indicated that by March,4, the park will be ready for utilization. In the next few weeks the park will be back to its bustling self,”Amongi said.
The reopening was later postponed.
The delays in reopening the Old Taxi Park have greatly affected over 20,000 members of the public who KCCA recently said operated in the facility before its closure.
The delay has also worsened traffic jam in the city centre since most taxi now operate on streets as their stages
The oldest taxi park in Uganda’s capital has for long been in a dire state but efforts to renovate it have always been frustrated by taxi operators who argued that they had not been consulted.
Two years ago, KCCA announced they had got a shs4.3 billion grant from the Netherlands government to renovate the old taxi park.
In 2018, KCCA said the new face of the facility will see a multi-level parking building in Old Taxi Park but according to the latest statement, no mention of the same has been done.
It also remains to be seen whether the worries expressed by taxi operators of losing parking space will come to pass as it was with the redevelopment of the new taxi park .
The renovation of the new taxi park a few years ago saw taxi drivers left with only 40 percent of the space they had previously occupied.
This seems to have come to pass after drivers were recently told that only 344 vehicles would be allowed into the renovated taxi park.
KCCA recently revealed that they have installed an automated system at the entry and exit points of the park to create orderliness in the facility.
The Old Taxi Park has been in existence for over 50 years, making it the oldest taxi facility in Kampala, Uganda’s capital.