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We need Female Taxi-Operators Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Guga, Uganda Jun 6, 2008
Environment , Human Rights , Gender Equality   Opinions


I think the time is ripe for us to have Female Taxi-Operators (FTOs). Gone are the days when Men dominated the Transport Sector to the disadvantage of other road users!

Why FTOs?
The Male Dominated Transport Sector is taking us through a lot of unpleasant experiences which I think can be stopped with the introduction of female taxi operators. For instance, we have all either experienced or witnessed uncouth behaviour from these taxi men, let me point out a few examples:
  • You board a taxi with a 20k shilling note or even 10k. In the middle of your journey, you give it to the conductor. He looks at you as though you have committed a crime, then hurls an insult at you for giving him Ssente enene (a “big note”)!

  • A taxi operator picks you up, saying he is going to Mukono via Bweyogerere. When the taxi gets to Bweyogerere, he rudely announces that they are not proceeding and everyone should get out and find another vehicle!

  • The journey fare for a given destination is known. You give the conductor a 5k shilling note, and he takes off almost twice the normal amount, claiming the fare has been increased!

  • You want to alight at the City square. When the taxi driver sights a traffic police officer, for reasons best known to himself, he speeds past the square and goes straight to the old taxi park. When you complain, he jeers at you and asks if you didn’t notice the police!

  • You did not start driving the very millisecond the light turned green? The taxi driver will honk at you! You slowed down by one km/ hr and are still over the speed limit? How dare you? Thee taxi driver behind you will honk at you! You are waiting at a pedestrian walk and letting some people cross in front of you? Boohoo! You deserve a honking!
    Honking, or using the horn, can cause a lot of stress and/or anxiety in others. It is a perceived sign in most cases that our action is not right, and thus many people simply become nervous and upset because of being honked at for something they cannot identify.

  • Taxi drivers suddenly switch lanes without showing any sign or an indicator.

  • There is usually no stop sign, no speed bump, and no respect for a non-paying pedestrian’s life as far as many taxi drivers are concerned. You stop at a stop sign. Many taxi drivers only slow down at a stop sign. You stop when someone is crossing the street, even if the light is green and they are crossing illegally. Many taxi drivers keep driving at the same speed when they see a pedestrian walking across the street.

For many taxi drivers, no space is too small, and no opportunity is too risky. Taxi drivers can be great risk takers. If they see a small opening between two cars, they will try to squeeze through. If they see an opportunity to pass someone by changing lanes while other nearby speeding cars are approaching in those same lanes, the taxi drivers will still change lanes and force the other drivers to slow down!

Imagine the damage they cause, a small scratch to both cars while the taxi driver tries to squeeze through? Over 70,000 /= to fix. The brakes that die because a taxi driver suddenly jumps into your lane without giving you much space to avoid the taxi? The accidents that happen because of some taxi drivers doing whatever they please because they think they have more rights over the road simply because they earn money driving? A few lives and broken bones. The terrifying look on your face when you see such taxi drivers jump right in front of you and the evil happy look on those taxi drivers’ faces? Priceless!

Women are usually conscious of other people and they are generally warmhearted. They wouldn’t do all the things mentioned above plus others that I haven’t been able to mention. I believe that if some competition could be created such that one had the choice to wait for a Female-Operated Taxi, the male operators would possibly style up.



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Writer Profile

My Name is Isaac Wanasolo, graduate with a Bachelors Degree in Urban Planning from Makerere University and a Certificate in IT. I have also attended several short term trainings, workshops and conferences.

Am currently Volunteering as Director of the Youth Coalition for Development in Mukono District and doubling as Technical Planning officer at Eco-Shelter and Environmental Consultants and have undertaken several short-term assignments both Technical and Administrative.

I faced many challenges during my study time because i lost my parents at the age of 9. It was a struggle to make it through to this level as an absolute orphan, but thank God i am who i am today.

I am naturally humanitarian and i derive satisfaction from humanitarian activities. I particularly love doing advocacy work for those in need especially orphans. Writing is one of my tools to effective advocacy but i so much like working with people.

My interests cut across diverse issues but in summery, i am humanitarian.

I consider myself a self-motivated person, organized, and can adapt to challenging situations. I have strong interpersonal and communication skills, fast at accomplishing duties, very hard working, confident, and enjoy teamwork. i am friendly, and as i interact with others, i remain focused on the business at hand. Above all, i am a God fearing citizen with high moral character and integrity.

Colonial Urban planning....a detriment!!
jasper bakyayita | Jul 22nd, 2008
Thanks for the article on female exclusion in managing the transport sector.I know a few women who are taxi drivers in Kampala.Uganda is the only country in Africa where women concerns are addressed at all spheres of government and local politics.There are more women driving in Kampala than men. For women to operate our Taxis,they must be ruthless,aggressive and able to eke a living in the most competitive industry in Uganda. Uganda's roads were designed for fewer vehicles 100 years ago,colonial policies did not anticipate the increase in population after independence. Even in the 21 st century,Uganda is still operating on those policies. When Maker ere Varsity introduced Urban planning,the idea was for graduands like you to work in emerging districts which can be planned on sound economic,conservation ideals and sustainable planning models with the ability of the people to plan with alternative energy models which are more sustainable and where the ordinary people can participate in the planning process. Uganda is country of contrasts,women now have more power to effect the changes needed in the country. More women are slated for positions in decision and policy formulation,therefore,their role in transport sector is not withstanding. Women are needed in the judicial and other structures where they can affect policy. Thanks for the article

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