Plan for Mandalay terminal worries bus owners

Bus operators have expressed reservations about the final design of the Chan Mya Shwe Pyi (Kywel Sel Kan) bus terminal in Mandalay, which is touted as one of the most modern in the country.

The final design of the upgrade was submitted last month to the Mandalay City Development Committee (MCDC) by M-Development Corporation Co Ltd, which won the tender in 2014 but only signed the contract last October because of design changes.

The original design of the project in Pyigyitagun township was done by a South Korean firm, but the final one submitted in September was made by a Singaporean firm, said Ko Myo Ko Ko, general manager of M-Development.

“The final design was drafted in accordance with the instructions of the mayor. The government also approved it,” he said.

But bus operators criticised the new design, saying it could cause a lot of inconvenience to passengers and operators.

“The design is better suited to city buses. It will cause problems with parking our large express buses. We have told the authorities about our concerns. We want a more suitable design,” said Ma Lae Lae Aye of Mandalar Minn express line.

The original tender required the terminal to have twelve floors, but it has now been changed to five floors. The company will invest US$170 million (K271.96 billion) to expand the bus terminal to cover 6.1 hectares, but only 3.3 hectares will be completed by 2020.

For the project, M-Development will partner with a Hong Kong company to acquire foreign investment, said Ko Myo Ko Ko.

“Not much profit is expected from this. The Hong Kong company wants to do its best on this project because it wants future work with the government,” he said.

The final design calls for a five-storey bus terminal with parking lots and arrival areas on the ground floor. It will also feature bus gates, rest areas for passengers, shopping centres, and luxury hotels.

“Actually, the design is better for (the bus operators) because the ground floor, all eight acres, will have parking only for buses. Private vehicles will have to park on the upper floor,” he said.

U Myint Oo, owner of JJ bus line, criticised the lack of consultation with bus operators.

“We don’t oppose the upgrade, as it is for the convenience of travellers, but the people who designed this building don’t understand how we work. They didn’t ask us. For example, maybe they think that a bus stays here for only 10 minutes, but our buses leave twice a day – morning and night. Under their system, we would have to leave as soon as we arrive, with no time to rest,” he said.

Once the construction starts, the old terminal will be demolished and the buses will move to a temporary terminal, which could cause a lot of inconvenience for passengers and operators.

“The temporary terminal is not ready yet. They have built it to handle around 400 people, but more than 4000 people will be using it daily, and there are loads of sand going through the temporary terminal, so how will huge vehicles be able to use it?” said U Cho of Shwe Mandalar highway service.

Mandalay is the second largest city in Myanmar after Yangon, so there is a lot of commercial traffic in the city. Mandalay’s transportation sector is part of China’s Belt and Road initiative.

“Mandalay is more important than Yangon in the ASEAN road network and will become the centre of ASEAN roads in the future. I appreciate the upgrade, but not just in name. It is no good if the terminal will not be useful. There are a lot of things they put in there (that are unnecessary for road transportation),” said Ma Lae Lae Aye.

Source: Myanmar Times

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