- By Htin Paw Win
“Without waiting for instructions from above, we have been striving to the best of our abilities to serve passengers with sweet smiles” a train official’s voice softly came out of a meeting in the train office , Yangon, Lower Myanmar.
The train official, one of 10-member delegation sent to advanced Japan for a study tour of how Japanese trains were managed , shared his knowledge with train employees in Yangon. Myanma Railway has started to upgrade Yangon Circular Trains and stations all along the railway for some years. Some sections have been finished and some still need to be completed. Myanma Railway has been trying hard for the physical and mental welfare of its employees; trainings and workshops are often held for them. The workshop, held on 7 February for improving public services, vividly showed how the Railway strived to change its image.
Mitsuo Higashi, a director from Japan International Consultants for Transportation Co., Ltd, which has assisted to upgrade Myanmar Railway said:” We have started to upgrade public service with small-scale trainings for three years. With an approval by the Minister in July, 2018, the JICA( Japan International Cooperation Agency) has consented to start service trainings of railway employees.
In October 2018, ten officers from Myanma Railways were sent to Japan for practical and theoretical studies on Japan Railway for about a week. Programs started a week ago to upgrade the services of Myanma Railways under the cooperation between JICA and of Myanma Railways by forming a working committee. This workshop has started for Yangon Railway employees in the first step. Arrangements are scheduled for conducting more trainings.
“ You have to start services with a smile and then greetings. Daily routines are necessary for the employees to continue. In a matter of seven or eight months , a service manual is arranged to be published at the latest. More handbooks for services are intended to publish for the employees to upgrade service sector. I will also try to continue to upgrade this sector.” Continued a Japanese director.
Try more on cleanliness
“ We started our service sector three years ago. we have seen substantial improvements to the service sectors in Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw stations after service personnel were given trainings.
Within a year, direction signboards were visibly noticed by domestic and foreign passengers. Cleaners are properly dressed with blue uniforms and are found to concentrate more on cleanliness. Wide recreation centers are attached to Yangon and Mandalay stations;
Yangon Bus Service has a gate so that train passengers easily alight from the trains and get on a YBS. Start with a little business and continue to do bigger ones. In Myanmar ,it is an important fact that instructions come down from above; staff members will have to carry them out. The proposals put up by lower staff should be considered by the superiors and are found to be currently important.
The change of ideas
Workshops have been held in Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Daw stations; the change of public services can not be carried out in a day or two.
What would happen during during next six-month period; changes must be made depending on the results. Sustainable developments must be taken into consideration in a year. Depending on the results, Efforts must be made to keep things going and get them done. New train carriages and their equipment may be bought with money at any time. But mentality and ideas of service personnel cannot be bought for change; trainings and workshops should be held to produce good results from them.
Words and requirements of subordinate personnel would not taken into consideration in Myanmar society in any situation. There is always a wide gap between practical conditions and instructions given from above. Myanmar Railway has been trying to narrow the wide gaps. The Railway is trying to take up a system to meet basic requirements for Yangon Circular Trains. We are going to observe a big change besides Yangon Bus Service in the near future. A major upgrade of Yangon Circular Trains with fast diesel locomotives with the accompaniment of sweet countenance and smiling faces of Yangon Railway employees can be seen in the near future.
(Translated by Arakan Sein)