Govt to Import 1,000 Buses to Address Shortage

By San Yamin Aung 19 January 2017

RANGOON — As a pledge to add to the insufficient number of buses under the new transit system that was introduced on Monday, the Yangon Region Transport Authority (YRTA) said the government would add additional buses on Friday and import more than 1,000 buses in total.

“Buses are still in short supply,” said Dr. Maung Aung, secretary of the YRTA.

The new Yangon Bus Service (YBS) replaced the infamous 300 bus lines registered under the Rangoon Motor Vehicles Supervisory Committee known as Ma Hta Tha with 69 bus lines, which downsized the bus lines to eliminate overlap in a move to avoid “races” between buses—a practice in which vehicles compete for passengers and make unscheduled stops.

But the plan was met with too few buses, as not all bus owners had registered with the YRTA to continue under the new system and others were not ready to operate, which led to overcrowding and delays.

Dr. Maung Aung said the plan was to operate more than 3,700 buses.

But on the first day of service, only 2,900 buses were ready to serve commuters. On the second day, the number increased to 3,300 and on the third, 3,495 buses ran, according to the YRTA.

Under the old system, there were between 4,500 and 4,800 buses running on any given day.

“Though the bus numbers are increasing day by day, we need more buses as we also have a plan to update many vehicles next month,” the secretary of the YRTA said.

Vehicles manufactured after 1995 are currently allowed for temporary use and around 70 percent of the buses operating under the new system are old. Dr. Maung Aung said the old buses would be replaced with imported vehicles manufactured in 2006 or later under the public-private partnership system in which the government planned to give the new vehicles to selected public bus companies.

“For now, about 500 buses are required immediately to fill the shortage and we are working to fill this very soon,” he said, adding that 100 imported buses would be in service next week.

Dr. Maung Aung said the regional government would import some 1,000 buses from China and Korea to address the need.

“After listening to feedback from passengers and the media, we also plan to expand the current bus lines for the convenience of commuters.”