- by Dr. Maung Aung
The Public Transportation means the system of buses, trains, etc. provided by the government or by companies, which people use to travel from one place to another in safe mode, comfortable, cheap in fair price, going through fastest in travel time and most convenient method with the emphasis on all better services for the public.
As the service related to the public, all relevant governments pay greater importance for this sector. Since mass transport is vital, the train transportation is also prioritized. All governments on this planet are striving for better public transportation through motley assortment of ways.
Based on the development of each country, the available mode of public transportation is somewhat different. In most of the developing countries, bus system is being applied as it needs lesser investment. As the country becoming more developed, the train transport system is being filled in that needs with more investment. In the developed countries, the train systems such as the conventional train, the subway train, and the sky rail are being in use. However, in the developing countries, the bus transport system is commonly used for sustainable development as it takes lesser investment with low technology. In most of the countries of the world, the Bus Rapid Transit — BRT has been put into main focus for the convenient of the general public. The BRT is a high-quality bus-based transit system that delivers fast, comfortable, and cost-effective services at metro-level capacities. Therefore, the successful BRT system is seen in many countries of the world.
Service Centered Public Transportation
All the governments across the world are prioritizing better public transporting with safe mode, comfortable, convenient, transparent, and with reasonable pricing. Therefore, it centered on providing good service to the public, but not mainly on profit making. For the sustainable operations of the transport companies, subsidy and financial assistance are being facilitated by the government. Individual ownership system is being transformed into company ownership system with a view to make better management. As the individual ownership system could never be contributed good service for the public. In order to provide better service in the public transport sector, the government is getting involved merely in the management and supervision task. All the tasks are carried out through transparent tender system in the selection of companies based on the price offer and proposed service to be rendered. Tenders are submitted through competition.
All the cash received from the sale of tickets are collected by the government. When the company is not getting enough cash from providing service, necessary financial assistance is being given out by government. Therefore, the companies are not necessary to worry about profit and loss, and at all to provide service for the public transport as have committed themselves in the proposal.
In Singapore, the subway and the bus transport are placed under the Land Transport Authority. There are over (150) bus routes within designated zonal area for transportation. There are four companies such as SBS and SMRT operating with the subsidy granted by the government.
In the People’s Republic of China, transport service is provided for the convenient of the public and they are subsidized by the government. When the public transportation sector could be developed, the use of private cars could be reduced. Therefore, all governments are trying their best for the improvement of public transport sector.
Yangon Public Transport System
Yangon is the home of over six million people and stands out as the largest city with high degree of political, economic and social status. It is also a commercial hub of the country. Around 2.8 million population relies on buses, taxis, private vehicles, trains, water buses, and sampans. Among them 2.3 million people are using buses and that number reflects 85 per cent of the daily travelers. The circular trains are transporting about 100,000 people, and when the JICA aided rail project is completed it may carry about 300,000 people.
The role of urban bus transportation in Yangon is vital in the past as well as at present time, and it may remain crucial in the future. Since regaining independence of the country, the bus transport is being managed by the successive governments namely the Road Transport Corporation. During the Tatmadaw Government, the functioning of bus was being managed by private motor vehicle line called All Bus Lines Control Committee (Ma Hta Tha) until 15 January 2017 under the incumbent government.
Under the management of Ma Hta Tha transport system, individual bus owners reaped the one sided financial gain of which was termed as “grab all what you worked it out”, leaving the transport system in chaotic atmosphere with unfair and unjust burdens and woes over the travelers.
Introducing YBS System
The new Yangon Bus Services (YBS) system was commissioned on 16 January 2017 under the new incumbent government, and dismantled the old Ma Hta Tha transport system. The YBS system is being introduced with the aim and purpose to better serve the people with all aspects for convenient and decent travel through “People- Centered” Policy. The YBS system is not the reformation or revamp of the older system, but changing into a new system as a whole. The new changes included four features such as the management system; the changing of ownership system; changing of operational routes; and the substitution of new vehicles in place of old buses.
The first change is the dismantling of the Ma Hta Tha, and put the management into the hands of Yangon Region Transport Authority (YRTA). As the former Ma Hta Tha happened to be a non-governmental organization, the management is rather weak and fragile to handle, and therefore, it has been changed into the hands of YRTA. The second point is that the individual ownership has been switched into company ownership. During the individual ownership, the focus remained on the exclusive financial gain of the individual owner, without any consideration for providing better service of the public. In saving the investment, the individual owners deployed old vehicles and entrusted the buses into the hands of the drivers and the bus conductors just to grab money as much as possible, resulting with problems on the roads including car accidents along the untold miseries of the travelers.
The third change is the operational routes such as that the previous 330 running routes were integrated and reduced into 100 routes under YBS system. One route is designated only to one bus line. In the earlier system, one route was jammed with multiple bus lines, causing chaotic driving in danger zones just to grab cash from the passengers. In the new system, all the roads including the main three thoroughfares of the city are being allocated to (100) bus lines. The fourth salient point is that the substitution of new buses in place of old vehicles, as better service needs new vehicles. The old vehicles such as Dyna and BM and the 20 years old buses were being replaced. In compensating the old car owners, the government provided them with the special privilege by granting them authorization slips to buy saloon car for the old bus that they handed over so that the old car owners are not at a loss.
Now under the new system of YBS, there is no 20 years old outdated and inefficient vehicles, but functioning with 2006-2007 models and brand new vehicles. Some vehicles are found to be in lesser functioning power and capacity as they could not provide the air-conditioning system for passengers, and that the vehicles happened to be buses of the individual owners. One basic requisite under the YBS transportation is to provide air-conditioning system for passengers.
(To be continued)
Translated byUMT (Ahlon)