By Our Reporter
In its first year of managing and operating the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway, Egis Road Operation has managed to collect about Shs34 billion in toll fees.
Egis Road Operation was awarded a contract by Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to maintain the expressway.The tolling operations were launched in January last year, in an event officiated by the Minister of Works and Transport, Gen Katumba Wamala.
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Motorists on the expressway pay between Shs5,000 and Shs18,000 depending on the size of their vehicle.While launching the tolling Gen Katumba said that part of the money made from the fees collection will be used to finance the loan while the rest will be used on operation expenditures such as security along the road, ambulance and breakdown services, and routine road maintenance.
The main aim of the tolling operations on the expressway was to provide a financial source to bridge the existing financial gaps when it came to the shortage of infrastructure funds for road maintenance and loan repayments by relieving the burden of competing for funds that could be used in other sectors.
“We are very proud to celebrate our first year of tolling operations on the expressway and we thank all Ugandans for embracing it. We surely could not have made it without you all,” said Mr. Yavuz Cagatay, the General Manager of Egis Road Operation Uganda.“Egis Road Operation is committed to driving economic, social, and infrastructural growth to add value to all our shareholders. I’m excited to share that we have recorded impressive growth in a number of key priority areas, hitting past the set targets in the past twelve months,” he added.
With the support of road users and other stakeholders, a number of achievements have been registered. About 7,300,000 motorists have used the road and a total revenue of 34,000,000,000 billion shillings collected in the past year.
With the use of the discount option of Upesi cards for road users, about 1,200 card passage users’ are registered daily.
Mobile top-up options have been added for Upesi cards with partnerships with MTN Momo Pay, Airtel money, and Stanbic Bank to enable road users to conveniently top up their Upesi cards anywhere, anytime. Through various sensitisation drives in the promotion of road safety, there has been a significant drop in the number of road accidents on the expressway from pre-operations.
What to look forward to in the next year of operation
The Kampala-Entebbe Expressway was made to reduce traffic congestion for people traveling to and from Entebbe. Our key focus areas this year are meant to underpin that objective and make sure that we bring convenience to the people who use the road.
According to Mr. Yavuz, one of the priority areas is deepening the use of cashless means of payment along the expressway. “Earlier in the year we introduced the Upesi card which has given convenience to our road users not to mention the great value for money they get from the discount policy we maintain on the Upesi card. Our objective is to increase the number of people who use the Upesi card.
Cashless payments are the global trend and we would not like our customers to be left out. With the use of cashless payment systems, we will ensure that people spend less time at the tolls which improves the overall convenience of using the expressway,” he said.
He added that this year’s priority is reducing the incidences of road accidents along the expressway.
“We have kicked off a sensitisation drive to remind Ugandans to be cautious when driving along the expressway. We will remind our customers that is always better to arrive alive for their loved ones than to test the speed limits of their cars on the expressway. We are confident our message will be received by our customers. We continue to remind our customers that we have a toll-free emergency line 0800270170, which can be used by road users at all times and we will be able to assist them. This number has been used by over 40,000 expressway road users this year who have had car breakdowns on the road, accidents, and other emergencies,” Mr Yavuz said.
He added: “As much as we continuously sensitize road users and put out different messages about road safety, it ultimately depends on the road users’ behavior change. As we go into the second year of tolling, we look forward to our continued partnerships with all stakeholders for the growth and development of the Kampala- Entebbe Expressway.”