YANGON — In response to a recent rape and murder case by a taxi driver that alarmed the city, the Yangon Region Transport Authority (YRTA) announced that it would revoke the licenses of those who failed to register and renew as city taxis starting Thursday—a move aimed to enforce existing regulations and tighten security.
Ma Shwe Yi Win, a deputy supervisor at the Health Ministry’s Food and Drug Administration Department, was raped and killed on Jan. 20 by taxi driver Myo Zaw Oo, who later confessed to the crime, on her way home.
An official from the YRTA told state media that the taxi that the victim took had an expired registration.
He added that after taxis are registered, data on the vehicle’s owners and drivers—the latter to be shown visibly on the taxis for security reasons—would be collected.
The YRTA announced in November 2017 that all taxis plying the city’s streets must register between Nov. 14 and the end of the year. The deadline was then extended to Jan. 31, 2018.
“The registration period was short for the number of taxis in Yangon. Since [YRTA] made the announcement, taxis line up daily to get registered. I think it might take a year to register all the taxis,” taxi driver Ko Hsan Min told The Irrawaddy.
Yet, Ko Hsan Min hopes that registration will ensure greater safety for passengers and also help prevent drivers from operating without a license.
“If taxis are registered, passengers can know the name of the driver and the license plate number at a glance. It is safer for them,” said Ko Hsan Min.
In January last year after the introduction of the Yangon Bus Service (YBS), the Yangon Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein said the regional government planned to allow only a certain number of taxis proportional to the city’s commuter population.
He said the regional government would reduce the surplus from those operating under limited licenses and turn those taxis back into private vehicles.
Currently, the number of taxis in Yangon Region is estimated to be more than 68,000, and more than 40,000 registered by last week, according to the YRTA.
It also announced that taxis must remove window shades, stickers and advertising that could obscure the view inside by Feb. 1.