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Taxi Count Needed Before Industry Reform

The Yangon Region Transport Authority (YRTA) is undertaking a taxi census, as it attempts to rein in the largely unregulated industry.

YRTA secretary U Maung Aung said a formal, standardised registration process will begin once they have taken stock of the city’s fleet.

At present, Yangon taxis are operated by private owners and subject to little regulation. In July 2016, Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein had said the YRTA would seek to overhaul the sector, eliminating problems of drug use as well as crimes such as robbery – for both passengers and drivers.

For now, though, it is simply a matter of counting cabs.

“We won’t say anything now. We will definitely use GPS and city taxi registration [in the future]. At present, we are still arranging to [gather data on taxi numbers] because we don’t know exactly how many are running in Yangon,” said U Maung Aung.

YRTA hopes its new system of registration will see taxi companies take responsibility for their fleets.

“Later, we will not allow private ownership of taxis,” said U Maung Aung, adding that, for now, the policy of ending privately operated cabs is just an idea. “We have not drawn up details for the process. Now, no one is responsible for taxis and no regulates them,” he said.

Since 2014, the Yangon Region Supervisory Committee for Motor Vehicles (YRSCMV) has been in charge of taxi registration and permit extensions.

At present, city taxi operators must first register with the Road Transport Administration Department (RTAD), as well as getting a business license from the Ministry of Transport. Registration to operate as a city taxi is done through the YRSCMV, under the auspices of Yangon City Development Committee.

‘’We must be responsible for four districts – East, West, South and North of Yangon Region,” said committee chair U Hla Aung. “At the moment we are carrying out city registration. But according to the YRTA’s transportation plan for Yangon, they will arrange a better system for taxis after setting the policy.”

At present, Yangon commuters bargain on fares with the driver. Metered cabs are few and far between. Some taxis ask for an additional fee in order to run air conditioning.

“We don’t know if the taxi drivers have proper licences or not. [There are] many weak points with taxis,” said U Hla Aung. “According to the RTAD, around 60,000 taxis are registered, but there are likely far more that this in practice.”

 

Source: Myanmar Times

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