Yangon regional government weighing policies to control traffic

The Yangon regional government is currently weighing a car import policy for the region and will announce its decision in due course, U Myint Thaung, regional planning and finance minister, said last week.

Policies including permits for individual car importing are now being discussed with Yangon’s chronic traffic problems in mind.

The number of vehicles in Myanmar began rising in 2011, when importing cars from abroad was allowed with limited restrictions. Between September 2011 and now, a total of 800,000 vehicles were shipped into the country. Of these, around 500,000 are registered in Yangon.

With traffic congestion in the region getting worse, the previous government began slapping controls on the number of vehicles in Yangon, allowing only those with a parking recommendation letter with a Yangon Region address to import Yangon license plate vehicles.

However, drivers simply bought imported cars from companies registered outside of Yangon or changed their addresses to one in Yangon to sidestep those restrictions. As a result, traffic problems persisted and the issuing of parking recommendation letters was suspended by the government in April 2016.

Since then, fresh policies such as implementing the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) system used in Singapore have been considered. A COE is the quota licence received from a successful winning bid in an open bid uniform price auction which grants the legal right of the holder to register, own and use a vehicle for a fixed period.

U Soe Tun, chair of Myanmar Automobile Manufacturers and Distributors Association, said Myanmar may consider a Yangon Vehicle Quota Certificate system to replace the need for parking recommendation letters. However, this has yet to be announced.

Some people are worried whether the car price will increase or not after the new policy is rolled out. But the car price will not increase because of the YQVC and the number of units to be allowed by government is not confirm yet, U Soe Tun added.

In the meantime, “the government has been trying to solve the traffic jam problems by extending and improving existing roads, upgrading the traffic light system and ordering trains utilising railway tracks that block traffic to operate only at night, U Myint Thaung said.

The Yangon Region Transport Authority has also been established to implement the Yangon Bus Service, enabling more to commute via public transport to reduce and tackle congestion, he said.

Source: Myanmar Times

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