YBS,Water Bus, School Bus and Yangon in 2017

  • By Hsu Hnin Lei
  • Now, it reached exactly one year that transportation sector of Yangon city had been changed starting from 2017, to be exact, 16th January 2017. Yangon regional government started to change the previous transportation system upon which nearly half of the city dwellers wholly relied. Thus, transport system under the control of the former Ma Hta Tha [multi-bus-line controlling committee] changed into YBS [Yangon Bus Services].
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YBS buses seen in downtown Yangon. Photo: Phoe Khwar

From Ma Hta Tha to YBS and Yangon City
Yangon Bus Services launched on 16th January started its transportation with a total of 60 bus lines or so, which were operated by 8 companies, according to Yangon City Transport Authority. Although there were over 300 bus lines plying in Yangon Area, new routes were drawn up again for YBS system. At the invitation of the authorities concerned volunteers took part in the campaign for the success of the YBS system, with enthusiastic individual well-wishers and companies included. At the very start, people found it difficult to go straight to their destinations with insufficiency of vehicles, difficulties to find rightful bus lines and unavoidable transfer of bus lines to reach the destination.
Difficulties and inconveniences lasted for over three months. As for the Yangon Region Transport Authority as well, it was still negotiating with the bus line companies. In changing a system, three months period is a brief one, but according to some experts it may be attributed to the weakness in cooperation in changing into the new system.
On the day when the introduction of the YBS system entered one month period, U Phyo Min Thein, Chief Minister disclosed officially at the news conference that the next step will be upgraded as the second initiative after 3 month-period, that is, referred to the month of April. Following that, 1000 neo-buses were bought from PRC, arriving in early June, and new cars ran in substitution. Though many lines changed their old cars into new ones, until now there are still old buses plying in some areas.

One-year old YBS and its necessities
At the first anniversary of YBS system, there are nearly 100 bus lines. In answer to the requirements, amounts of vehicles will be extended up to 4000. That will be same to that of Ma Hta Tha System, but bus lines were made smaller than the former ones, hence difficulties existing for passengers due to transfers of buses and shortages of buses in some bus lines. What is worse, there used to be outside cars plying just after dark hours in the past, with people relying upon the outside cars since early hours at such a time of 1st anniversary of YBS. In the evenings passengers wholly depend on outside cars only. YBS bus lines mostly use no conductors but there can be spare-men in some bus lines until now. Occasionally, it was heard that some bus conductors collected bus fares instead of putting into cash boxes. Some cars fail to abide by vehicular rules and laws. In addition, it cannot be successfully implemented linking commutes with buses, water buses and rail transport. Once, the Chief Minister of Yangon Region Government had ever said that there would be a perfect transport system at the one year period of the YBS.

YBS and reforms
YBS bus lines exercised the system of putting bus fares into cash boxes as for the passengers, but bus fares could not be collected to the full. And, some passengers put pieces of paper into the cash boxes for money. Accordingly tenders were invited for replacement of card payment system in bus lines on 10th January 2018 and tender-winning company was declared. The card payment system will be successfully implemented within three months. If it can be successfully implemented, all the bus lines other kinds of the transports in Yangon area can apply the card payment system. Simultaneously problem of change will be solved out. The noticeable change is the substitution of new cars.
Most passengers welcomed the change of new vehicles, desirous of knowing the cars transparently, that is, concerning the cars’ expenditures, capacities and life of insurance. For this, Yangon Region Hluttaw representatives are discussing as regards the new cars. In importing the cars, Omni Focus Company, Bandoola and other companies imported new Foton cars. In the three month period to come when card payment system will be introduced, we must watch reforms of YBS system.

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A Yangon water bus is moving along Yangon River in Yangon. Photo: Phoe Khwar

Yangon Water Bus for Cruise
Yangon Water Bus was launched on 6th October 2017 and started to run for the public on October 7. At the very advent of the launch, water buses were over-crowded with passengers whereas now they are becoming less crowded. At first people seemed to travel by water buses just for fun. It was learnt that they lack to use it as the important transport sector of the country. If the Water Buses can be linked with other transport conveyances, the present day traffic jam can be solved and it will surely become an effective transport system.

Arrivals of school buses cannot start its operation
Under the arrangement of the Yangon Region Cabinet 200 school buses were bought from ROK. As negotiations are under way with responsible officials of the Basic Education Schools school buses cannot yet operate its running until now. It was learnt that operations can be started only in the new academic year. Starting from the new academic year 2018 the government will no longer allow school ferries such as “Dyna” ply .
Out of over 200 BEHSs, nearly 300 BEMSs and over 2000 BEPSs existing in Yangon Region, there are events of traffic jam only in 22 schools. School ferry services will be launched for these schools only. Over 300 light-truck cars will be allowed for school ferry services, only up to the end of the present academic year.
Yangon Region Government signed an agreement to purchase 200 school buses from Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency [KOTRA] on 10th May 2017 at US $ 36840, it was learnt. But, the said cars cannot ferry students at cheap prices, so parents of the students are desirous of the grants to the existing secure cars such as super customs. Presently the imported school buses are temporarily staying in the parking grounds at Myaynegone.
Though there were many reforms had been made in Yangon City, many things are still left to be done. We are to move on to 2008 route, by making checks and balance between the Government and Hluttaw representing the entire populace.

Translated by Khin Maung Oo

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