Kampala which is the capital city of Uganda does not have a public transport system as such because it is privatized with different modes of transport and these are the different modes one can use around Kampala.
⦁ Boda boda motorbikes
⦁ Taxis and Special hires
⦁ Buses and coaches
If you are not in a rush Kampala city center is within a working distance from the 5 divisions that make up Kampala and this is dependent on where one is staying the morning view across the wetlands below Bukasa, Muyenga Kampala is the perfect way to start your day the pavements along Kampala Road are good and it’s only in the center of town and around the central business district (CBD) that you will find decent pavements. In other parts of town, pavements may suddenly end without warning (if they exist). Drainage covers may be there today and gone tomorrow so always tread carefully.
Cycling in and around Kampala
Cycling on Kampala’s streets is some time hectic and crazy because of the heavy traffic jam and narrow roads without cycling lanes plus little awareness of cyclists or their safety But one can cycle down Lake Victoria or on the quiet hills of Kololo or Nakasero in the upper cozey suburbs of Kampala.
The Boda boda Motorbikes
The boda boda motorbikes are undoubtedly the quickest way of getting around Kampala from A to B and the city also couldn’t function well without them. The Boda boda drivers are city`s Mr Fix It, though one has to choose with discretion and they can also be a real menace too. If you take a boda boda, do yourself a favour and wear a helmet. Don’t just accept a lift from random riders. Get to know the riders from your local boda boda stage or download one of the ‘rider hailing apps’ like Uber or Safe Boda app. These boda riders are registered and bring you a high quality helmet to wear and they also ride safely.
One can also move around Kampala privately by driving own car lots of people prefer the comfort and privacy of having their own cars. Though one can encounter a lot of traffic jams on the many traffic jam laden narrow roads of Kampala and one can be pulled over by the traffic police at short notice for minor some of them create. Hence driving in and around Kampala is not for the nervous and the faint hearted.
A tourist can also hope onto a taxi or hire a special hire vehicle for convenience and being a cheap means of transport and he or she can board the taxi anywhere in Kampala as long as they know where they are going or go the different taxi parks and stages in and around the city while for the special hire one can hire them on your own convenience or time at the comfort of your place using different mobile apps like Uber to mention but a few.
The 12 seater minibus taxis (generally white with turquoise stripes) are the cheapest way to get around but the routes can be annoying as you have to go into the centre of town to get out to the other side of the city. People often walk a bit, then take the first matatu and then the second one or jump on a boda boda for the last part of their journey.
Matatus are very cheap. There are no price lists, no receipts and no timetable. They have set prices but the conductor (who sits by the sliding door and takes your money) will frequently try to overcharge you if you’re a foreigner. Most routes charge 1,000 shillings (equivalent to 20 British pence or 30 US cents). If you’re not sure how much to pay, fellow passengers will usually help you out hence one has to travel with loose change or small notes if you are going to use them.
The downside with matatus is that they frequently get stuck in traffic, especially around the taxi park and Clock Tower roundabout. It’s not uncommon to sit for one or two hours without moving. Their drivers are often aggressive plus also, you have to be careful with your belongings on these crowded minibuses as there are lots of cunning pickpockets
Note: The Ugandan matatus are twelve-seater minibuses, slightly different from Nairobi’s matatus which are buses, coaches or coasters.
Buses and Coaches
Buses and Coaches within Kampala city are called Pioneer and are the only bus companies that are new, well-maintained with fixed routes, fixed prices and even tickets and these link the city to the rest of the country as they ply different up country routes.
If you want to travel outside Kampala, upcountry or across one of Uganda’s borders, buses are the safest means of transport since the matatus or minibuses have a particularly poor safety record.
The train transport has just been revived of resent and currently ply’s a few routes if one is lucky enough to live in Kireka or Namanve, you can get the train into and from town. The downside is that the service is infrequent although it does have a daily timetable and it’s very cheap.