YBS Reform in the Pipeline


One month after the Yangon Bus System started, the Yangon chief minister warned bus owners and drivers that they must follow the instructions of the government. Those who violate the rules would be eased out, said U Phyo Min Thein on February 17.

The YBS, a new public transport system, commenced on January 16 and the Yangon Region government planned to upgrade the system once every three months. Currently, around 3500 vehicles are employed in the bus system and more buses are necessary to support the scheme. The government plans to increase the number of buses to 4500 units, starting from April.

However, some bus owners and drivers have not fully complied with the new rules and are still doing it their own way in order to maximise their financial gain.

“I want to inform those who own and operate the buses that they can only run the YBS in the public’s interest and they must follow the plan according to the government’s scheme,” U Phyo Min Thein said.

“The service is very important and if they do not comply, we will remove them from the industry.”

The next move by the government concerning the YBS will be to bring in new bus vehicles and introduce the Global Positioning System (GPS) to all buses.

“We hope to run the system with new buses soon which can make a profit for owners more than the old buses. It is because the new ones don’t need to be repaired again and again like the old ones,” he said.

“We have issued an instruction to install GPS for 30 buses every day until all buses have a GPS. But bus workers do not want [the GPS]. After fixing the system, the buses will be monitored and the operator team will know everything about the buses.”

“At least, they dare not return without serving the entire [bus] route,” the chief minister added.

The government had hoped to operate YBS entirely with public-private partnership (PPP) companies, but they have given private owners a chance to take part. But the administration is finding it difficult to deal with the individuals.

In the future, the government will ease out those who are not competent enough in offering the transport services and replace them with better firms.

“We will go on having private owners on board but they don’t want to continue when they lose profit. For PPP companies, let’s say eight out of 10 [PPP] companies achieve profit but two lose. They can afford the loss.

“However, for private owners, they cannot accept the profit loss and always insist on running the most popular lines in order to maximise revenue,” he said.

According to the chief minister, there is still a need to increase the number of buses in some townships. The government is conducting research on how to fill the supply-demand gap and will play a leading role in strengthening the YBS.

“We hope to implement the upgrades and reforms when the next fiscal year starts in April, with a new budget.”

There are 2000 bus stops in total in Yangon, and the YCDC has called for tender to upgrade 250 bus stops. The new payment system for buses is also in the pipeline and is expected to be an integrated system for all kinds of transport and retail options, such as water taxi, train and ewsupermarkets.

“I admit that our country has been lagging behind from other countries but we can import the latest technology, which is not yet introduced in other countries, to our system,” U Phyo Min Thein added.

With the introduction of the new payment system, bus conductors will no longer work on buses – they will charge passengers at the bus stops. The government also intends to finalise the system of charging the amount of bus fare based on the length of the journey.


Source: Myanmar Times

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