Public Responds to Assault on Rangoon Public Transit

By Htun Htun 23 December 2016

RANGOON — After outraged commuters responded to a bus conductor who allegedly beat a passenger, the Rangoon Division public transit regulatory body told commuters to file complaints in line with the law.

Last week, a video of a bus driver and bus conductors beating a passenger went viral. According to those who shared the file, a group of five men from the No. 236 bus line beat a commuter on highway No. 3 in Rangoon the second week of December.

The video shows a group of men beating a commuter. Other commuters onboard stopped the incident, but did not physically respond.

However, some netizens, outraged by the video, waited for a response from concerned authorities. After a few days with no response, a few people decided they would take matters into their own hands.

According to a Facebook group of more than 1,500 members created to report traffic violations by buses, angry netizens decided to issue their own warning to the bus conductor and driver of the same bus line on Dec. 18.

“We are investigating the No. 236 bus line [operators] regarding this case. As to the beating [by the bus driver and conductors], we’ll see if the victim will file a complaint against them,” said Rangoon Regional Transport Authority Secretary U Hla Aung.

The video of the commuters lashing back against the driver and conductor went viral, with many people showing support for their actions.

There have been increased cases of physical assault by bus drivers and conductors toward commuters and taxi drivers this year. Most of those who commit assault are not officially registered with the city’s public transit regulator body, known by its Burmese acronym Ma Hta Tha.

Daw Kyi Pyar, a lawmaker representing Kyauktada Township in Rangoon divisional parliament, told The Irrawaddy that there had been debate over the disciplinary actions against bus drivers and conductors but that the divisional government was weak in its response.

“I myself have experienced the misbehavior of bus conductors. The government seems to have difficulties handling them. But, I don’t want the public members to retaliate. I am concerned that individuals will suffer if they do,” said Daw Kyi Pyar.

Actions against drivers and conductors are taken under traffic rules and regulations as well as existing laws for their violations of traffic rules and misbehaviors, said U Hla Aung.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko