Centralising Taxi Operations to Ease Congestion

The Yangon Region government would be implementing a new scheme under which taxis would be managed by taxi service operators, said Daw Nilar Kyaw, regional minister of electricity, industry and transportation, in a bid to ease traffic congestion in the country’s commercial capital.

The minister said there were 80,000 taxis running on the road all the time, contributing to the worsening traffic congestion in Yangon.

Of these 80,000 taxi vehicles in Yangon, only 3000 are registered as “forever taxis” while 30,000 are private vehicles which were converted into taxis. The rest are taxis which came from states or regions outside Yangon but are operating in the city, according to Daw Nilar Kyaw.

“There are so many taxis in Yangon. Because of the numbers, we are trying to systematise the vehicles and place them under service operators,” said Daw Nilar Kyaw.

The minister underscored the need to regulate public transport in the city, noting that of the 930,000 vehicles registered in the whole of Myanmar, more than half of these – over 500,000 – are found in Yangon.

The regional government is trying to tackle traffic congestion in Yangon from all sectors, such as upgrading the public buses, managing the traffic from a central control centre and allowing operations of international taxi service companies, the minister said.

The control centre would implement centralised management of the taxis in the city, and ensure more efficient use of space on the roads.

“We can’t solve the traffic congestion only with the Traffic Control Centre. There are so many factors leading to the traffic jams we are facing.

“Upgrading public transport is only one of the many factors. But if we can upgrade the public transport infrastructure effectively, nobody will take taxi and individual cars,” Daw Nilar Kyaw added.

The Yangon government has already allowed two international taxi service companies, Grab and Uber to start operations in the region earlier this year. Two local companies, Hello Cab and Oway Ride, are also operating in the commercial capital.

The government hopes that the commuters can take the taxi more conveniently with an affordable price using taxi service companies rather than the status quo – an unregulated market of taxi vehicles.

With commuters using their mobile phones or call centre to get a taxi, the taxis need not run on the road all the time and this can help reduce the traffic congestion.

Although Grab and Uber have entered the Yangon market, most people still hop on taxis on the road even when they have to haggle with the fare, since the price of taking a regular taxi is still considerably cheaper than riding a Grab

or Uber vehicle.

Some of taxi drivers do not want to join taxi service operators and want to drive freely.

“When I want to drive, I will drive. When don’t want, I will take rest. How nice?

“I don’t think it is good to work under the control of call centres or service operators. Hence, I do not want to join any taxi service companies,” said taxi driver U Myo Myint.

Other taxi drivers said it might be challenging to get all the taxis in Yangon to work with taxi service operators.

“As I heard, the government will place the taxis under the operators.

“If they have a plan to do that, they must include all taxis. If not, it will be difficult to manage the situation,” said taxi driver Ko Nay Han from North Dagon township.

 

Source: Myanmar Times

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