Rangoon to Reduce Taxis to Address Traffic Congestion

By May Soe San 19 January 2017

RANGOON — As a move to relieve traffic congestion in the former capital, the Rangoon regional government said its transport authority will survey the number of taxis operating in the city after solving issues with the recently reformed Yangon Bus Service (YBS), which launched on Monday.

Rangoon chief minister U Phyo Min Thein announced the plan to count the number of taxis in Rangoon during a press conference at the divisional government office on Jan. 14.

The divisional government plans to allow only a certain number of taxis proportionate to the city’s commuter population, according to the chief minister.

Currently, taxis operate under two licenses—permanent and limited. The government will reduce the surplus from those operating under limited licenses and will turn those taxis back into private vehicles. The government did not reveal details as to how it would select which would have their licenses converted.

After collecting the number of taxis, the regional government will set up a call center that will allow Rangoon residents to order taxis online.

However, the joint secretary of the Yangon Region Transport Authority U Than Win said the taxi plan would only be addressed after the city’s new bus network was established.

According to the YRTA, taxis registered outside Rangoon sometimes operate in the city, contributing to traffic woes.

The divisional government will take action against cabs from other areas that operate in Rangoon’s municipal area.

Taxi driver U Soe Naing said, “If a call center is set up, the meter system could be applied. The system was not successful in the past. But if roads are less congested under the new public transit system, perhaps it may work.”
Taxi drivers currently set their own fares in a city beset with traffic woes.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko