Kampala - Post Report Question and Answers

Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

No and they are forbidden. - Jan 2024

Affordable yes, safe, no. Usually everyone has their own car. We have used Uber on occasion and it's mostly fine, sometimes frustrating, but not unsafe. Those that don't have cars often find a local taxi and just use that person for all their transport needs. - Jun 2022

Minivan taxis, airport taxis, big long-distance buses, motorcycle taxis. Uber. Minivan taxi prices have gone up twice as much within 3 years of our time. Expats and locals use all the transportation methods, however, you need to be very careful. Minivan taxis drive too roughly in my opinion, and I would be concerned about robberies. Uber has a hard time finding you (most drivers do not know how to read maps and use navigation, so you need to constantly tell them how to find your location), the app has glitches and may charge you for the route the car did not take, then you need to send message to the company to adjust the fee, and drivers may give you a sad story and want more out of you, and will more likely to cancel your request if you are paying with a credit card. If you do not have exact cash, they tell you that they do not have change. It is just a hassle. Motorcycle taxi - could be the fastest way to travel but in my opinion, it is not safe even if you are wearing a helmet. Bicycle taxi - new one during the pandemic since there was a time of restrictions in personal vehicles (diplomatic vehicles were exempt). All the local transportation is affordable, however, if you get injured, the local hospital may not be able to give you the adequate care you need. - Dec 2021

No buses, no trams, no trains, nano taxis. The first three don't really exist and the fourth is forbidden. Uber is here and is safe and reliable...if they ever show up. - Aug 2020

They are not safe and we are prohibited by the Embassy from using boda bodas (motorcycle taxis). I see a boda accident or near accident almost daily. - Nov 2019

Affordable yes. Mini-buses (matatus) and motocycle taxis (boda-bodas) were poorly maintained, over stuffed, and/or operated in a dangerous manner. Local staff would complain about petty theft on the buses as well. I used Uber from time-to-time. It was cheap, but not very reliable (cancelled rides, pit stops for gas, getting lost despite the pin on the map). - Oct 2019

Taxis and Uber are available. We are not permitted to use local taxis or motos. - Mar 2019

Uber is available and cheap. My position means I am unable to take any form of local transport. There is no "public transport" system, but a loose network of private taxis and motorcycles that can get you around to any place you want to go. They are neither safe nor recommended. - Feb 2019

Uber is available in Kampala, and is incredibly convenient. However, the drivers constantly run out of gas and will cancel trips on you based on whether you are paying by cash or card (yes, even Uber uses cash here) or what neighborhood you are getting picked from or where you are going. Otherwise, however, there is no public transportation that I'd recommend using. No trains, other taxis besides uber are essentially non-existant, and buses and motorcycle-taxis are dangerous and uncomfortable. Most folks find a taxi or Uber driver they like and then store their number and use them as pseudo-personal taxi-drivers, which works very well. - Jan 2019

Driving in Kampala (and Uganda in general) seems perilous. A driver must always pay attention to driving due to bad roads, animals, erratic drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians all jockeying for space on the roads. Pedestrians do NOT have the right of way on the roads and hit-and-run cases are not uncommon. It is not advisable to take buses or local vans for transportation needs. - Dec 2018

No, we are mostly prohibited from using the public transport here because it can be unsafe. - Dec 2018

RSO prohibits us from using the local buses (matatus) and local taxi motorcycles(boda bodas). They seem to be extremely dangerous and seem to drive recklessly. We are not fond of either one. Uber is available and very inexpensive, however, I would not expect nice cars or air conditioning. The Uber drivers also do not seem to know how to use the map function on the app, so they will always call you for directions. - Oct 2018

We aren't allowed to use public transport. We do have uber but they won't use their map, can't find you, run out of gas and don't use air conditioning so it can be a struggle. - Sep 2018

Adorable, yes, but absolutely not safe. I have heard there are people robbed and beaten on buses and I've heard the motorcycle taxis average 10 deaths a day. - Sep 2018

Uber is the best option, and there are some commercial cabs. We have been advised not use buses or motorbike taxies. - Aug 2018

The regular public transportation options are not the best. Uber is used quite a bit (or a similar taxi service called Friendship taxi) which works fairly well, is reasonably priced to cheap, and offers better quality services than regular public transportation. - Jun 2018

Uber is here and widely available and safe to use. We are not allowed to use the local taxi vans (matatus) or buses for safety reasons. - Jun 2018

We aren't allowed to use any of these for transport. - Aug 2015

Affordable, yes. Safe, no. - Jun 2014

No. No. No. Bodas are offlimits per RSO. - Oct 2013

There are a few good taxi services. I would not recommend taking the Matatu vans-- those are van taxis that cram as many people in as possible, and they drive like a bat out of hell. Also, do not take boda bodas: these are motorcycle taxis that have to be one of the most dangerous things you can do while in Kampala. They weave in and out of traffic, and most people don't wear helmets. It is not uncommon to see a family of five on a boda with the toddler up front holding the handle bars and mama on the back cradling an infant...crazy. - Mar 2013

Available - but not safe. Mostly the matatus, and lots of "boda bodas" - motorcycle taxis - a recipe for death or maiming. - Sep 2009

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