Yangon bus committee plans PPP transformation to operate new lines

The Yangon Region Bus Control Committee is forming a public-private partnership (PPP) company and has applied to be one of several such firms that will run bus lines as part of an overhaul of the city’s public transportation system, committee chair U Min Zaw told The Myanmar Times.

He said the new company will be called Yangon Urban Public Transportation Company (YUPT), which the bus control committee is forming at the request of the Yangon Region government’s chief minister, U Phyo Min Thein.

The region government is hoping to reduce the 350 or so bus lines across Yangon’s chaotic transport system to around 50, and is encouraging companies to form PPPs in order to operate them.

A public-private joint venture set up last year to operate a new Bus Rapid Transit system, BRT Lite, has gone well, but that only operates on two routes.

Yangon Region’s Public Transportation Authority Group (PTAG) said that so far eleven companies have applied to operate bus lines under the new system, and the deadline for accepting applications is tomorrow.

PTAG secretary U Maung Aung said that applicants included Mittar Hlaing and a firm owned by military conglomerate Myanma Economic Holdings Limited.

The bus control committee’s YUPT is applying to operate 36 bus lines, U Min Zaw said. But some members are unhappy with the plans to form a PPP company.

The committee has around 1500 members, all of whom – including U Min Zaw – are private bus owners. Collectively they own around 2000 buses, but many of these vehicles are old. If the planned PPP firm is to operate bus lines it needs new vehicles.

“Some of the owners are worried that they won’t get much if they sell their buses and that it won’t be enough to buy a new one,” said U Min Zaw.

As a first step in building up its fleet the bus control committee is applying to the government to import 250 South Korean-made buses – mostly 2006 and 2007 models – and has plans to import another 250. This also requires applying to the government for help securing a K15 million bank loan to help fund the purchase, U Min Zaw said.

Many committee members are also concerned that as part of a PPP firm their incomes will drop. Under the current system, bus owners make money from ticket sales on their individual buses. As part of a PPP firm profits would be shared, and bus owners would rely on the entire venture being profitable.

In order to address concerns that such ventures will result in losses, U Phyo Min Thein in July said that the government would help PPP firms by awarding them petrol distribution licences.

Bus control committee members are under no obligation to participate in the PPP firm, but U Min Zaw said the new company will target private bus owners in its first round of share sales. Shares will be priced at K100,000 each, and YUPT will extent sales to the general public later on, said U Min Zaw.

PTAG secretary U Maung Aung said that he hopes to see the new bus system up and running in November.

 

Source: The Myanmar Times

 

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