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Bus Drivers, Conductors Protest Loss of Jobs at YBS

Nearly 200 bus conductors and bus drivers marched in Shwe Pyi Thar township on Thursday to protest against a plan to eliminate conductors’ jobs by the Yangon Bus Service.

The Yangon Region Transport Authority had ruled that all YBS buses must install cash boxes by July 20 to replace fare collections by bus conductors starting from July 21. After that date, only drivers would be needed to man the buses, in line with international standards.

The regional government had been planning to adopt the system since YBS started, the protesters said, but the bus drivers and conductors did not know about it until recently.

‘’We only found out about the plan to do away with bus conductors on July 15. The bus conductors are upset about this, so we are protesting to ask the government to guarantee them jobs,” said driver and protest leader Ko Kyaw Zin Htun.

The group marched for about half an hour from Shwe Pyi Thar to Lain Kone village through Htan Chaut Pin, then they returned to Htan Chaut Pin, the terminus of the No.40 YBS line.

The protesters said they only want the government to arrange for new jobs for the conductors. Conductors and drivers from bus route Nos. 22, 23, 39, 40, 42, 61, 65 and 79 took part in the march.

‘’I know that people hate bus conductors, but conductors have their problems. They have to deal with many kinds of people every day. They might not be like normal people. This is their weak point. YBS has 3500 to 4000 buses, and twice that number of conductors depend on their jobs on the buses,” said Ko Kyaw Zin Htun, adding that the conductors have not had enough time to find new jobs.

‘’The YRTA should have told us about this plan six months ago to give us time to find new jobs. How we can we do it in only five days?” asked Ko Htet Aung, who has been a conductor on the No.40 bus of Shwe Lann Khin company for two years.

Most conductors want to continue working on the buses, but some are willing to work on vehicles in the repair shops.

‘’I’m from Ayeyarwady Region. I only need enough to make a living for me and my family. If we cannot collect bus fares, we can work as helpers to service passengers. Each bus should have a conductor to help the driver,” said bus conductor Ko Aye Chan.

Ko Kyaw Zin Htun posted about the protest on his Facebook page, asking all conductors and the general public to come join them.

“I want the government to think first before going ahead with their plan. Because of social media, this news has spread and bus owners have said they will continue to assign at least one bus conductor to each bus,” he said.

“The government should consider how this will affect the jobless problem. It has a duty to be responsible for all bus conductors. Bus workers should tell bus companies about their difficulties and ask for help finding new jobs,” said Myo Win, an owner of A Myint Myat Sone Inn Arr bus company.

“The bus conductors have no capital to start another kind of business. We will wait one week, and if nothing happens, we will march again in front of City Hall,” said Ko Shein Wai Phyo, who drives a No.40 bus.

Some people have criticised Yangon’s chief minister for starting YBS without an appropriate and systematic plan.

 

Source: Myanmar Times

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