The Uganda Bus Operators Association chairperson Umar Ddungu has attributed the consequent accidents involving buses to the insufficient training of the drivers.
In a phone interview with The Fatboy Show host James Onen aka Fatboy, Ddungu explained that the lack of bus driving schools in the country leaves drivers without an option but to only learn on the job.
“In Uganda, we don't have training schools for bus drivers. Mainly, the bus drivers are formally turnmen of the buses and lorry drivers who graduate to become bus drivers without undergoing the training with a driving school.They are supposed to be trained but the driving schools aren't there so most of them learn on the job,” Ddungu said.
Before acquiring a driving license, a driver is expected to go for driving tests to ascertain whether they are qualified to drive on the road. However Ddungu narrated that the unavailability of buses to test a bus driver’s skills causes a challenge since most of the buses are owned by companies and not individuals.
After Wednesdays horrific incident that happened on Fortportal- Kyenjojo road, where a nasty accident involving a Link Company Bus left at least 20 people dead, the Minister of Works and Transport General Katumba Wamala suspended transportation services of Link Bus for two weeks due to the repeated accidents from the company buses.
Reacting to the suspension, Ddungu called it a reactionary measure that won't solve the issue of road accidents in the long run.
“There are reactionary measures which are devised when something has happened and look like a solution but when in reality it's not. The suspension will push the company buses off the roads. The accident was an unfortunate event that happened but they didn't intend it,” said Ddungu.
“We think the Minister should have sat with the Bus Owners Association and Link Bus Services so that we come out with technical solutions not reactionary measures because they won’t help. At the end of the day, these buses will be back on the road with the same drivers. What would that have solved?” he asked.
Members of Parliament recently tasked the government to revive the directive of having speed governors installed in public service vehicles. The UBOA chairperson recognized them as viable in reducing road accidents even though he noted that they might be costly for a company.
As UBOA, DDungu said that the association is keeping record of bad drivers while training the bus drivers and sensitizing the public to speak up against bad driving.
The Fatboy show is hosted by James Onen aka Fatboy, Olive and Sarah every weekday from 6am to 10am on RX Radio.