Jaguar Bus Service Experience

Jaguar_bus

10 HRS 508KM JAGUAR BUS SERVICE A TRIP TO REMEMBER.

Did you know that a bus trip to Kigali costs only 40,000 Shs? Yeah, you heard me right, 10 hours and 40k is all you need. Ohhh and unlike some local buses, you don’t have to worry about discomfort, the companies that ply cross-border routes have mastered the art of comfort and customer service.

One of the major players is a master in this field. I guess the many years of service is what has helped them set the standard for everyone else because you know – the old brooms know all the corners. I am talking about Jaguar bus service. It was my choice of travel on the particular trip. And I loved it.

Jaguar_bus

My departure time is set for 8 pm, I have been on this road before so I know I know the drill, put something in my tummy, buy some refreshment for the journey (water preferably) empty bowels and be set for the next few hours until the bus reaches a refreshment point. Luckily, the bus service has a cafeteria where I can grab something quick without having to worry about leaving the premises and being left behind. A quick snack and juice from the cafeteria is all I need. It’s never advisable to eat too much if you plan to be on the road for some good time.

At precisely 7:32 PM the next departure bus in announced so that we the passengers can get up and organise ourselves, find the seats and seat tickets, cross check their travel documents. The spoken announcement is done in Swahili, English, Kinyarwanda, I think to cater for the travellers who include Congolese, Ugandans and Rwandese. Also during this time the bus conductors check with us to make sure we all have their travel documents, this is meant to avoid delays at the border checkpoints in case of missing documents.

There is a general thrill and excitement running around inside me as this red and white beauty of a bus gets into position – getting ready for take-off. It looks awesome from the outside – with red and blue LED lights wrapped around it giving it this daring and unique look. My ticket and passport are checked and I make a beeline for the very front seat opposite the driver. I want to experience this journey fast hand and see how this old man at the wheel steers such a big machine with such ease.

The leg room is enough, even for a 6’3’’ man like me and the space between adjacent seats is comfy too. I don’t have to worry about sitting next to my sleepy oversized neighbour overshooting their chair and colonizing half of my sitting space. The seats are also adjustable so I can lean back and drift off into dreamland if I feel like taking a nap.

At 8:00PM sharp, the bus eases out of the terminal and now embarks on manoeuvring through the heavy Kampala traffic. But I’m too distracted to worry about that. There are charging ports for every seat. I can use my iPad for as long as I want without having to worry about running out of juice. That’s a nice touch. Because normally there is only one charging port per row which we’d have to use in turns. I can play need for speed and stay in touch with my friends for the rest of the journey.

Mbarara

As expected the first stopover is in Mbarara where we are given a few minutes to go out stretch our legs, use the bathroom and refill our bellies from a nearby supermarket. I try as much as possible to avoid eating roadside food. The street omelettes, chicken and chips shoved by vendors through the window are a recipe for disaster and could lead to anything from a running stomach to a serious infection. Making a bus with 57 people stop every 5 minutes for you to ease yourself just won’t happen.

The next stopover from Mbarara is at Katuna border where my beauty sleep was cut short by a stampede of Congolese rushing to jump out when the bus stops to get to the immigration queue.  Finally, the bus comes to a stop and we are told to do clearance in the shortest time possible.

This one poor guy whose student visa has expired ends up getting delayed when an immigration officer tells him to step aside and wait, the conductor who seems to be more familiar with these border officers comes back to put in a word for the guy, the misunderstanding is solved and off we go. Our conductor then has to confirm that every one we came with is abode before we live the border, a noble thing to do since very often, buses drive off without passengers who get held or delayed in the immigration queue.

A couple of hours later, beautiful lit background welcomes us to our destination, the magnificent, breezy town of Kigali, thanks to Jaguar this will be a trip to remember, mostly because of the hitchless ride.

Kigali

Mbarara Kampala Bus Travel Experience

Bakuli_Park

Kampala Mbarara Bus Experience with Global Coach, the good and the bad experience

Mbarara district is found in western Uganda, the second city of Uganda, Ankole region call it the land of milk and honey, with very beautiful happy people. When you get to this region, drinking water stops and we start taking milk in all forms.

Five years consistently using Global Coach Buses

Global

Mbarara to Kampala is a four-hour drive, and so very easy to think about getting on the road. However, it hits you had when you think of how to get a bus ticket. The whole struggle of getting one gets you lazy and almost tempts you to cancel the journey. So, I wake up early morning to travel to Kampala for a meeting, day one its very swift with Global buses and my mind concludes that global is the best bus company. Time goes on as I use the coach since I was using it minimally four times a month, I was to able to make friends working with the company and this sometimes made my booking easier since I would only make a call and find my seat reserved. This went on for a while, and soon I started getting discounts off my transport fair. First time I was given a discount I was shocked because I had even never requested for it until the guy gave me my receipt.

Executive_Buses

The company even got better when they brought the executive buses that were two sitters, the conductor (EMMA) made sure we pray before starting the journey, he helped us learnt how to use the seatbelts, introduced dustbins for the bus he was the conductor, he would provide us with serviettes whenever we reached the points where the buses stop for the passengers to go on short call and grab something to eat, toothpicks were always next to him. Am sure this attracted very many customers for the company. Personally, I find it hard to use another bus company.

The good experience with global outweighs the bad experience.

I remember some other time in 2017 when I had a meeting in Kampala at 10am , so as usual I woke up, so early to start my journey, forty minutes into the journey at the first check point from Mbarara town, the bus gets a mechanical problem, I got so disappointed since I was now  thinking of how I was going to get late for the meeting, I got so excited when in a very short while I saw another Global bus come to take us off  for the journey, thank God we were using Global otherwise if were another company we would have spent there a day waiting for the mechanics.

Now let me talk about a normal journey, get to the bus park in Mbarara, and when you are lucky to find the buses available, the hustle won’t be a lot, you will get your ticket at the doorway of the bus, and in a few minutes the bus will have set off. What disturbs me are the constant different inspectors that come asking for the receipts, four hours is not a short journey so while you try to catch some sleep, the inspector is next to you asking to check your receipt.

Putting the nagging bits aside, the journey is honestly interesting.  Uganda being the pearl of Africa has a number of interesting features that will always attract your attention. I remember on one of my travels seeing a herd of cattle with the same colour, the cows looked beautiful and made me stay awake the whole journey so that I could get something else that would catch my eyes.

The beautiful vegetation itself attracts you to get under the tree and take a fresh and cool breeze. Sometimes there are zebras along the roadside, ooooh those pretty animals. I actually forgot to tell you that Mbarara has one of the National parks and that is Lake Mburo National park.

Get to Masaka there is some gonja for you to eat, get a drink and some muchomo (roasted meat), continue the journey meet the Equator and take some photos if you are using private means while us on the bus stop at the excitement.

I wish there was a system that offers tickets and seat numbers so that they don’t have to disturb us while we travel, it makes some of really feel bad. Maybe such a system would help the bus company know its regular customers so they could actually give them attention. And again, the system could help in the booking process, and this would actually eventually increase the numbers of customers.

My last journey was in early February this year, the bus park was full of people and luggage since it was reporting time for students. We stepped on each other, people pushed one another, the turn boys were bribed by the people to get tickets, it was generally not a nice experience. Imagine paying for a bus that has not yet arrived so that by the time it arrives, you are already in the line to enter the bus. It’s at this point that if there was a clear system, the constant customers would have felt rewarded.

@Global Coaches, by the way, thank you for thinking about Bakuli bus terminal, we have enjoyed Kampala really

I must say Global bus company still bits them all, my wish is that they continue bettering their services every day.

By TUSH | March 20, 2018

Rachel Tushabomwe, born of Kanungu district, with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Mbarara University of Science and Technology. She is a Certified Insurer & member of the Insurance Institution of Uganda, working with Jubilee Life Insurance. She loves travelling and has a rich experience in sales and marketing of services.

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