Yangon’s SRT Bus Line Closes Due to Losses

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YANGON, Myanmar – Yangon’s SRT bus line, launched with government help last year as a model for passenger-friendly transportation, is to close on Dec 8 after losing 690 million kyat (about 18.7 million baht).

SRT bus line started running in early 2015 in cooperation with the Ministry of Transport in an attempt to bring international standards of comfort and safety to Yangon’s chaotic bus transport system.

“The original intention was to provide an international-standard bus line. We used a card system to charge passengers according to the length of their journey, rather than a fixed rate,” said spokesman Tin Win Aung.

Though the line was not expected to be economically competitive, the scale of the losses, amounting to K690 million, was too great.

“We just didn’t collect enough money in fares to cover the cost of the service. Other bus lines would charge a K200 or K300 fixed fare, but we were losing K40 million a month charging by length of journey. Usually that only came to K100 or K200,” he said in a report in The Myanmar Times.

SRT was also unable to increase the number of buses in the line as planned.

“We were going to run three stages with 25 buses in each stage, but we couldn’t proceed because of our losses,” said the spokesperson, adding that the line would be reconfigured as a public-private partnership (PPP). The company has applied to the Yangon Region Transport Authority (YRTA) to approve the change.

“We have to repaint all our buses to join the PPP system. The regional government said we had to be ready to start in January, and they will select the routes,” said Tin Win Aung.

The YRTA is currently selecting PPP firms to run a revamped public bus system that is under development.

SRT will also have to refund customers who have already bought prepaid cards, and help some of their staff find other jobs.

“We will buy more buses when we start the PPP. We believe the government will designate 20 routes depending on population density, and they will set the number of buses for each route,” he said.

 

Source: The Myanmar Times
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