Muhanga taxi drivers protest against ATRACO

SOUTHERN PROVINCE MUHANGA—Taxi operators in Muhanga District are demanding that the Association of Taxi Operators (ATRACO) reduces the daily dues it charges the drivers.
Some of the drivers waiting for the Wednesday meeting in Muhanga-Photo D.Sabiiti
Some of the drivers waiting for the Wednesday meeting in Muhanga-Photo D.Sabiiti

SOUTHERN PROVINCE

MUHANGA—Taxi operators in Muhanga District are demanding that the Association of Taxi Operators (ATRACO) reduces the daily dues it charges the drivers.

The drivers demand that the charges are reduced to Rwf1500 from Rwf4000, the current dues.

Over 100 drivers have since Wednesday refused to pay the daily dues to the association despite continuing to operate.

A meeting which was called to sort out the problems with drivers on Wednesday was postponed, after ATRACO officials from Kigali and most of the drivers snubbed it.

“This charge is high and taxi operators are asking for a reduction. Drivers have suspended making their daily payments until consensus is reached,” Etienne Kirezi one of the drivers said.

“It seems like we are working for ATRACO’s benefits because at the end of the day, the drivers walk away with nothing.”

Talking to The New Times, a group of drivers argued that the cost of living has increased and as such the charges have been a burden over the years, which has sent some of them out of business.

“This problem is national and it affects all drivers and their touts. The issue has been discussed over and over, but nothing has been done; …there are many other transport operators out competing us,” said Aziz Rukundo.

Drivers claim that the problems started after ATRACO changed its status from a drivers’ association into an International Transport Company.

“ATRACO belonged to drivers and each of us had shares. But after these recent changes, we have been told that the association doesn’t exist any more and none of us has shares in the new Company,” one driver said.

Godhehard Rwakagabo, the Muhanga ATRACO official, declined to comment on the protest, but said that both parties will soon meet to discuss the way forward.

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