Yangon bus riders are paying the price for two deadly accidents caused by reckless drivers earlier this year. Route numbers 51 and 57 were both partially suspended in response to the crashes, leading crowded lines to become only more cramped.
The Yangon Supervisory Committee for Motor Vehicles, better known by its Myanmar-language acronym Ma Hta Tha, announced that as of August 25 half the fleets in each line would be suspended for six months. The routes were not fully cancelled for the sake of the passengers, the committee said.
“If we suspend all the buses, then the passengers will be in trouble” said U Hla Aung, chair of Ma Hta Tha.
While the accidents happened months ago, Ma Hta Tha – which is often criticised for its lackadaisical enforcement – is just now taking action against the lines.
Last April, a bus along route number 51, which runs between Sule Pagoda and Mingalardon township, crashed into a barber shop. One customer was killed and the shop was destroyed.
In May, a driver along route 57 failed to stop at the designated bus stop and hit and killed one person.
“According to the decision of the Yangon Regional Government, we will suspend these two lines for six months … The bus companies will be penalised not only for the offending bus, but also for all other buses under the same line,” said U Hla Aung.
There are 60 buses operating on the number 51 bus line and about 67 buses on route 57.
The increasing number of road accidents is often blamed on congestion following the liberalisation of car import rules in 2011, as well as poor enforcement of traffic laws. As The Myanmar Times reported in April, most bus drivers were never given the test that qualifies them for a heavy-vehicles license.
Death and injury rates due to road accidents have tripled over the past 10 years, with a total of 4313 deaths on the road last year alone.
Source: Myanmar Times