Taxi stands not a popular solution to end city congestion

The drivers have the tacit support of passengers, who assume cabs picked up at stands charge more. This resistance is a dilemma for Yangon’s transport regulator, the Yangon Region Supervisory Committee for Motor Vehicles, better known by its Myanmar-language acronym Ma Hta Tha, which is attempting to take at least some cabs off the street.

The regulator has been working with the Yangon City Development Committee to expand the taxi-stand system in the hope of making a dent in the number of taxis, often empty, cruising the streets and contributing to congestion and pollution. So far, they have not had much luck.

“The drivers want us to set up stands in places that are too busy for it. And they don’t want to use the stands we offer because there are not enough passengers,” Ma Hta Tha chair U Hla Aung said on July 10.

“Some locations have plenty of room for a taxi stand, but few passengers go there. The places where the taxi drivers can get a lot of passengers don’t have room for a stand. You can’t install a stand there without making congestion worse,” he said.

Drivers suggested they can make more money by cruising the streets.

“I prefer to keep moving. I don’t want to park in one place waiting for passengers,” said cabbie U Tin Myint. “Passengers think taxis taken from a stand are more expensive anyway.”

At the taxi stands the fare is still fixed not by meter, but by mutual agreement between the driver and the passenger. A passenger who thinks he can get a better deal than the one offered by the first driver in the rank will approach the second.

A common assumption is that if a driver has been waiting an hour or two at the stand for a customer, the lag time will factor into fare negotiations.

“It will take time to overcome this problem,” said U Hla Aung Taxi driver U Kyaw Min Oo from North Dagon township said the low traffic at stands must be fixed if taxis are expected to wait at the locations.

“In my experience, passengers don’t come to taxi stands. If the supervisor of the stand could go out and persuade customers to come, that might be all right. Otherwise, I can’t see it working,” he said.

There are cab ranks in front of Yangon General Hospital, Taw Win Centre, Bogyoke Market, Myaynigone Junction and elsewhere, but their popularity among drivers and passengers alike is limited.

“I never hire a taxi from a stand. They ask K1000 or K1500 more than a cab off the street,” said Ma Su Myat from Ahlone township.

Source: Myanmar Times

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