RANGOON — Rangoon Division Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein instructed all Yangon Bus Service (YBS) operators to keep their buses on the roads until 10pm every night, according to bus line owner U Ta Yoke Lay.
The chief minister gave the order on Tuesday during a meeting with the Yangon Region Transport Authority (YRTA), a group of 16 officials and bus company representatives, U Ta Yoke Lay said.
Rangoon authorities launched the new bus system on Jan. 16. It includes 69 bus lines and 4,000 vehicles that were planned to operate from 5am to 9pm daily. Now the service hours will stretch until 10pm.
After one week in operation, several challenges remain to be solved with the new bus network. Many Rangoon residents remain unfamiliar with the new bus lines. Riders have experienced long waits at bus stops, overcrowded buses, and many buses stopping service before 9pm.
The chief minister was aware that many buses stopped working early. U Ta Yoke Lay estimated that only 30 percent of buses continued working until 9pm.
Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein told the bus owners that the YRTA will closely monitor their performance over the next three months. The YRTA will evaluate whether or not bus operators are following the YBS rules and regulations. And if some operators are found to be breaking the rules, then the YRTA will disqualify those companies and replace them, U Ta Yoke Lay said.
On Wednesday, The Irrawaddy could not reach other bus operators who attended the YRTA meeting.
About 2.6 million Rangoon residents rely on bus services, according to a 2014 survey on public transportation conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.