Uganda Builds Buses That end up on Facebook, As Kenya, Tanzania Buy China, Sweden
There are buses being made in Uganda. Never mind that they are using Cummins engines, but Kenya and Tanzania are not buying them
Through the country’s new state-owned vehicle manufacturing firm, Kiira Motors, Uganda is building buses.
The Kayoola Buses being churned out of the Jinja-based factory seem to be doing well, at least on Facebook.
Kiira Motors knows how to sing own praises on social media. Everything seem so colorful and promising.
If only Uganda’s neighbors, Kenya and Tanzania cared, which they don’t.
Uganda produces the Kayoola Coach, which the company touts to be ‘an intercity bus for Africa.’ (They wish).
It is powered by two mills, an environment friendly Electric Motor and a gas guzzling Diesel engine.
The Diesel’s motor of course comes from Cummins, the company which fits engines to the Chinese Yutong and Zhongtong Buses.
The Kayoola EVS, on the other hand, is a Fully Electric, Low Floor City Bus designed for Urban Mass Transportation. It has a range of up to 300 kilometers per charge and a sitting capacity of up to 90 passengers.
Kiira Motors also build solar powered buses, at least the company boasts the concept.
The Kayoola Solar Bus is said to be easier to maintain, in terms of not having to change oil as is done in the diesel-powered buses.
The sun powered people carrier is expected to run 80km, or virtually a full operational day.
All seems well, except its neighboring country of Kenya and partner in East African Community, recently introduced its own Bus Rapid Transport (BRT), but preferred to import Scania vehicles from Sweden.
Uganda’s other neighbor, Tanzania, which just like Kenya and Uganda is also member of the East African Community and actually hosts the EAC in Arusha, also doesn’t give a toss to Kiira or Kayoola.
Tanzania, the first to introduce Bus Rapid Transportation in the region, continues buy its City buses from the ‘Golden Dragon’ company of China.
For intercity transport, Tanzania also relies heavily on imported buses from China (Yutong, Zhongtong and Higer) as well as Sweden (Scania) and South Africa (for bus body outfitting).
Kenya assemble most of its buses, but building them on chassis imported from Sweden (Scania), Germany (MAN and Mercedes Benz) and Japan (Isuzu and Nissan).