Carib Cars Changing Kitgum Public Transport

3463 Views Kitgum, Uganda

In short
Oloya says in addition to their off-road ability, the Carib is affordable. Oloya recalls that he bought his Carib at a paltry amount of only two million shillings, compared to over six million shillings he would have used to buy a taxi. He has already recovered all the money he used to purchase the car.

A few years ago, Carib cars were considered luxury cars. Today, they have surpassed taxis as the most convenient means of transport in Kitgum and several of the surrounding districts.

The Carib, a four sitter car, has become the main means of transport in Kitgum. Many drivers and passengers praise it as affordable and easy to manage.

Currently, Kitgum district has 21 Carib cars against nine taxis plying different routes within the district and neighbouring areas. They engage in the same business and charge the same fares like the taxis that operate in the district.

So acceptable have they become that Carib cars are now also registered with Kitgum district Taxis Operators Association. Caribs, like the 'matatus' pay 200, 000 shillings to be registered. 

Denis Oloya, a Carib driver who plies the Kitgum-Lamwo route, says the taxis cannot manage the poor roads in Lamwo. Oloya has discovered that the Carib's 4-wheel drive capacity means that they very easily traverse the poor roads.

Oloya says in addition to their off-road ability, the Carib is affordable. Oloya recalls that he bought his Carib at a paltry amount of only two million shillings, compared to over six million shillings he would have used to buy a taxi. He has already recovered all the money he used to purchase the car.

Charles Opio, another driver who operates on Kitgum-Pader road, says that since Carib cars have less sitting capacity, they can load passengers very fast and move a little bit faster. Opio says he makes three trips to Pader every day, while taxis can only make one.

Perhaps because of their size and speed, Carib cars are more accident prone. Many passengers complain that in order to compensate the limited seating capacity, the drivers tend to overload.

Jane Aciro, a passenger who regularly uses the cars, often finds that instead of sticking to the four seating capacity, the drivers load up to eight passengers, making it uncomfortable and risky. Nonetheless Aciro continues to use the Caribs because they tend to venture into areas the other taxis will not.

Patrick Okidi, on the other hand, has vowed never to use a Carib taxi again.

Four years ago, Okidi was in a Carib taxi that overturned while heading to Kalongo. Okidi claims that at the time of accident, the driver had nine passengers in the car. Some were even in the boot. The passengers’ attempts to complain went unheeded until the accident. A survivor of an accident that claimed two lives, he has no fondness for the Carib taxi. 

It would seem that Carib taxis have come to stay on Kitgum roads. Their biggest selling point is that the few taxis that ply the routes are in dangerous mechanical condition and passengers avoid them when they can. The Carib is the alternative.