Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has launched a plan to reintroduce a passenger train services in the city with an aim of improving public transport. It is thought this will ease traffic congestion in the central business district (C.B.D). Previously, there were no passenger commuter trains in Uganda, but rather, only cargo trains.
More than six wagons are ready for use and are currently in Kampala. Each with a carrying capacity of more than 120 passengers. The trains are to start functioning in the month of October 2014 and this will be daily from 7am to 5pm at a fairer price as compared to taxis, buses, or boba-boda motorcycles.
The railway line will be stretching from Kampala through to Namanve. According to RVR General Manager Sammy Gachuhi, this is a pilot project and, they plan to add a Kampala-Nalukolongo route later.
The project is a joint plan by KCCA and the Rift Valley Railways (RVR) who are managing the Uganda-Kenya railways, and these carried out an eviction exercise with the Uganda Electricity Distribution Company (UEDC), and also the Police.
This has however left a lot of people previously having settlements along the railway line reserve area homeless and others panic-stricken as they try to relocate to other places. It has been reported that those affected by this move were given a notice of only one week and thus no sufficient time to find other places to settle. Many people have been seen searching through the rubble for their belongings.
This campaign has not left out any concerned party. Recently, an Anglican Church, St. Stephen Kitara was also set for demolition for being built in the railway reserve.
Many people have criticized the Executive Director of KCCA, Jennifer Musisi for endorsing and taking on the project, and have referred to it as a thoughtless move as she attempts to modernize the City. They have added that leaving people without shelter is non-humanitarian. Additionally, the railway line is to reach Namanve, a place which is out of her area of jurisdiction since it is around 10km into Wakiso district.
However, despite all this criticism, many individuals have hailed the project as it will reduce the congestion; improve on transport facilities around the City, while also conserving the environment. Therefore, those who reside in the railway line reserve area have been advised to be cooperative and move to other places in order to ease the process. On the other hand, KCCA has also halted the eviction exercise to allow people to voluntarily relocate.