New Passenger Handling Rules Following Karuma Bridge Shutdown – The Ankole Times

New Passenger Handling Rules Following Karuma Bridge Shutdown

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has implemented a ban on the offloading and loading of passengers at the Arua junction along the Kampala-Gulu highway. This decision arises from concerns over the safety of individuals, as the area falls within the boundaries of Murchison Falls National Park.

The closure of Karuma Bridge due to structural issues has prompted buses, particularly those from Gulu district, to drop off passengers at the Arua junction. From there, passengers would rely on boda bodas (motorcycle taxis) to reach Karuma town, where they would board other buses.

James Peter Ewau, the warden overseeing the Karuma Wildlife Reserve within Murchison Falls National Park, issued a directive for buses to park at Nora trading center in Kamdini sub-county, Oyam district, along the same highway. This measure aims to prevent littering and loitering within the park area.

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Ewau emphasized that the Arua junction area serves as a corridor for elephants and buffaloes, posing a potential danger to both passengers and wildlife. Additionally, the sale of fruits in the vicinity may attract animals, further heightening the risk.

The closure of Karuma Bridge has led to significant challenges for travelers, particularly those relying on buses along the Kampala-Gulu route. With alternative routes in place, passengers have faced increased costs and inconveniences.

Operators have reported additional fuel expenses and longer travel distances along alternative routes, such as the Kafu-Masindi-Paraa-Pakwach road. These factors have contributed to passenger frustration and logistical difficulties.

Despite efforts by authorities to redirect heavy traffic through alternative routes designated by the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), some bus operators have opted for shorter, familiar routes to minimize operational costs.

Passengers have been left stranded in Karuma town as operators navigate alternative routes and logistical challenges. In some cases, passengers have been forced to rely on small vehicles or face extended delays in reaching their destinations.

Among those affected are civil servants and other travelers, including individuals participating in official government activities. Delays and uncertainties in travel arrangements have resulted in inconvenience and frustration for passengers.

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Samuel Longoli is a distinguished news writer contributing to the journalistic endeavors of NS Media and The Ankole Times.
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