The Minister for Works and Transport, General Edward Katumba Wamala, has announced that the suspension on the operations of Link Bus Services has been lifted after the bus company demonstrated a number of measures taken to prevent similar accidents.
“The Link Bus Company was found to be conducting refresher training of drivers as a Company Policy, installed a fleet management system in 80% of their buses, all of which have been newly acquired since 2019,” Gen Katumba said.
“So now, the suspension has been lifted. They will go back on their routes but they must only work with buses that have been verified and drivers who have also been approved.”
On Wednesday, May 4, 2022, a fatal accident involving Link bus number UBA 003S at Sebitoli, about 13 Km from Fort Portal, claimed over 20 lives and injured others.
Katumba told reporters at the Uganda Media Center, that a team from the Works ministry, Uganda Police and UNRA was constituted to establish the cause of the road crash but also devise mitigation measures for corrective actions.
He revealed that the team visited the scene, carried out investigations, assessed the bus wreckage, held interviews with some of the victims, eyewitnesses, management of Link Bus services and analyzed the information availed.
According to the findings, the bus driver Paul Sempalagala, 52, despite having a perfect driving record over the past 20 years, appeared to have been overspeeding on the fateful day.
“The bus was in a perfect mechanical condition, so was the road at the accident scene and the weather, all of which pointed to speeding as the cause of the crash. According to the on-scene investigations, the absence of skid marks was an indication that there were no attempts by the driver to brake implying over-speeding at the time of the accident,” he said.
He revealed that Police CCTV captured the bus moving at a speed of 99km/hr about 3km before the road crash scene, well above the prescribed speed limit of 80Km/hr.
He added, “The investigation as such concluded that the cause of the road crash was ‘failure of the driver to control the bus due to over-speeding.”
However, he noted that the driver, Sempalagala had a perfect driving record with no recorded crash history or reckless driving.
“Information gathered from the regular travellers described him as a friendly and trusted person whose bus commonly tagged as bus No.2 was most preferred to board from Bundibugyo. The driver had no history of alcohol consumption.”
In a May 12 letter to the Minister of Works and Transport, the Link Bus company Managing Director, Solomon Nsimire, said that they will review and strengthen the conduct of their drivers to ensure they avoid a repeat of the grisly accident.
He promised to ensure that their drivers follow the set guidelines while on the road.