Gaagaa bus services has closed its operations allegedly due to financial troubles, leaving more than 50 employees jobless.
Several unsuspecting passengers caught unawares by the closure of bus operations have been turning up at the Arua booking office only to find the place closed.
Last month, the company closed its booking offices located along Rhino camp road in Arua City, sending all the workers home. The remaining buses have since been grounded in Kampala.
Gaagaa Enterprises Limited, which is owned by James Nyakuni, a local businessman in Arua City, owned a fleet of over 15 buses. It was then one of the best bus service providers ever witnessed in the West Nile region due to the high quality of its services. The buses were some of the most sought-after between 2005 and 2020.
However, over the years due to the rampant complaints of the buses breaking down on journeys and involvement in nasty accidents, some customers started shunning Gaagaa.
Burani Ajaga, a former loader in the Bus Company, says that he is struggling to provide for his family following the closure. He says paying school fees for his children has defeated him since his livelihood greatly deepened on the buses.
Meanwhile, Francis Cadri, another former employee explains that many of his former workmates have now resorted to digging, following the closure of operations.
Gerald Angurini, a former ticketing officer in Gaagaa Bus Company, says that he now does any type of work to survive due to the high cost of leaving.
But it is not only the former employees of Gaagaa Bus Company are facing it rough as a result of the closure of the bus operations. Scovia Driciru, a fruit vendor at the former Gaagaa Bus Arua booking office in Arua city says that she educated her children with the money she got from selling jack fruit to passengers when the business was booming. She however says that following the collapse of the company, she can hardly make 20,000 each day.
When contacted, James Nyakuni, the managing director Gaagaa Enterprise Limited, declined to comment on the matter.
Gaagaa Bus had offices in Kampala, Burundian capital Bujumbura, Kigali in Rwanda and Arua. The company buses plied the Kampala-Rwanda-Burundi, Kampala-Arua, Kampala-Koboko, Kampala-Paidah, Kampala-Lira, Kampala-Gulu and Nebbi-Kampala vie Pakwach routes among others.