First public bus system targets Dec, Jan for launch

One of Yangon’s privately operated buses trundles along Sule Pagoda Road.
One of Yangon’s privately operated buses trundles along Sule Pagoda Road.

A PUBLIC bus service is expected to launch its first phase with 65 brand new imported buses this December or January. The Bus Rapid Transit system will operate along the main routes linking the commercial capital’s north and south.
Yangon’s existing bus system is comprised of a number of private operators who vie for ticket profits by speeding and collecting passengers. Some of Yangon’s buses date back to World War II and they are infrequently cramped, while very few have air conditioning. Although private bus services will not be banned from the roads, they are likely to be less popular than a more efficient and comfortable public service.
The first public company will sell shares to the public in the next 10 days, Dr Maung Aung, who chairs the committee responsible for forming the public company, told The Global New Light of Myanmar.
“We had to push back the launch of the new bus service by a month because we needed to give companies extra time to buy the vehicles that comply with all our criteria,” said  Dr Maung Aung.
The buses are imported from China and Korea, as well as Sweden’s well known Scania brand.
Yangon Region Government invited tenders to import buses for the new public bus service last year. The government will retain a 40 percent share, while 60 percent of shares will be available for the public to buy. Myanmar’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT Lite) system has been established through a Public, Private, Partnership (PPP).
The project is divided into phases, with the capital for the first phase set at K25 billion (US$19.42 million). The government will inject K10 billion ($7.77 million) into the first phase.
The BRT (Lite) system aims to reduce traffic congestion and pollution, as well as providing the public with a more affordable and comfortable method of transport, Chief Minister of Yangon Region U Myint Swe said during a ceremony held in May when the public was invited to buy shares in the scheme.

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