Fight against COVID19 for safer public transportation, JICA conducts “Zero Virus Day” project for YBS passengers

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A volunteer provides hand sanitizer to passengers before entering a bus in downtown Yangon on 20 November 2020. Photo:JICA

On November 20, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Yangon Regional Government (YRG) and Yangon Region Transport Authority (YRTA) jointly conducted an infection control and awareness-raising project for Yangon Bus Service (YBS) passengers, named “Zero Virus Day”. JICA has provided 4,500 hand sanitizers to YRG and they were installed in all of the buses operating on the activity day. In addition, YRTA staff distributed free face masks to passengers at the bus stops to raise awareness on importance of infection prevention measures in the public transport.
YBS is the main means of transportation for many Yangon citizens. During the normal time before COVID19 pandemic occurred, around 1.6 million people used YBS every day to go to their workplaces, schools, grocery stores and other places for their daily activities. Although the daily ridership is declining to over 400,000 passengers per day based on the recent figures, YBS has been continuing its operations to serve the needs of the people who have to go to their workplace to provide critical services for the citizens or to meet their essential needs.
“We are impressed by the strong will of YRG, YRTA and YBS operators to sustain their bus operations to protect the daily lives of people, despite such difficult circumstances.”, said Mr Sakakura Noriji, Chief Representative of JICA Myanmar Office. “Maintaining the operation of public transportation while securing safety of the passengers and containing infections is one of the hardest challenges many cities around the world are facing. However, we have to overcome this challenge to get our everyday life back to the people.”
The “Zero Virus Day” was conducted as one of the pilot projects under JICA’s technical cooperation project “Project for Improving Public Bus Services in Yangon”, which has been implemented since 2018. The Project provides comprehensive support, including bus network development, design improvement of bus stops, training to YBS drivers, to improve service level and strengthen sustainability of YBS operations.—JICA

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