The commuter transporters’ association (ATRACO) has denied sabotaging the operations of a new taxi cooperative in Rubavu District, Western Province.
In June last year, a group of commuter taxi drivers in Rubavu formed ‘Urugendo Rwiza’ Cooperative which is considered an Atraco’s competitor.
Joseph Rukundo, the Secretary General of the new cooperative, alleges that Atraco has been making it difficult for them to operate.
“We were cleared by Rwanda Cooperative Agency to operate, but whenever our members ply the Rubavu-Kigali route, they are intimidated by Atraco,” said Rukundo.
Rukundo further alleged that Atraco normally puts pressure on vehicle owners not to give their vehicles to drivers of Urugendo Rwiza cooperative.
However, the national president of Atraco, Ludovic Dodo Twahirwa, dismissed the allegation as unfounded, saying the cooperative was even unknown.
“I have not heard about them...I don’t even know what they do, or where their offices are located, but if there are people who want to form cooperatives or association alongside Atraco, it’s their right,” he said.
Rukundo, claimed they formed the cooperative as a way of preparing retirement packages for the drivers, get them better medical insurance cover and create a saving scheme which Atraco does not provide.
But Twahirwa said that Atraco, like any other institution, pays medical insurance and are subscribed to the social security fund.
Urugendo Rwiza, which boasts of over 70 members, says it was not formed to fight Atraco but work alongside them to offer alternative services to passengers.