By Simon Abaho
It was a busy day on Saturday as collection of road tolls along the Kampala- Entebbe Expressway officially commenced.
The ceremony officiated by the Transport and Works Minister, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala saw several government officials and other members of the public use cash or their prepaid cards for the first time on the 51km road, one of the country’s most expensive.
Speaking to journalists, Gen Katumba said apart from being used to pay the $350 million loan from Exim Bank of China, the fees collected will be used to provide better services on the road for the enjoyment of every user.
“The lights will be installed and you will enjoy driving on this road. Kampala-Jinja Expressway, Mpigi-Busega Expressway and more others are also coming. The same principles(of road tolling) will apply on those roads.”
He explained by starting to pay for using roads, government can now be able to get its own money to do other expensive projects by using its own funds other than borrowing like it is currently happening.
“It’s a good experience that as Ugandans we’re contributing to the development needs of our economy. Right now, most of the money we use is borrowed. It is high time we started generating our own revenue to do these projects.”
Motorcycles with more than 400cc and not boda bodas will pay shs3000, light vehicles shs5000, medium goods vehicles(2-3axles) shs10,000, large goods vehicles and buses(4-5 axles) shs15000 whereas large goods vehicles will pay shs18000 according to the payment plan released by government recently.
Weekly users will be given a 50% discount for seven-day return trips purchased in advance whereas monthly users will have up to 70% in discount for 30 days return trips paid for in advance whereas electronic prepaid card users will have 10% discount per trip
However, those who pay cash at the booth will not be entitled to discounts unlike those using prepaid cards.
Using the road will greatly help ease traffic jam from Uganda’s capital , Kampala to Entebbe as well as reducing the travel time for motorists to the airport from 120 minutes in the past using the narrow old Entebbe road to only 30 minutes.
Only the presidential convoy, ambulances and fire brigade will be exempted from paying the roll toll for using the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway.