YBS to Launch Card Payment System

By Zue Zue 17 January 2019

YANGON—Yangon Bus Service (YBS) will be installing a card payment system in its buses within six months, Naw Pan Thinzar Myo, Karen ethnic affairs minister of Yangon Region, said at the two-year anniversary of the launch of the bus service on Wednesday.

Yangon Payment Services Co., owned by the regional government, will soon sign an agreement with Asia Starmar Transport Intelligence Co., which has won the tender to install the card payment system.

The company is due to receive permission to run the service called Yangon Payment System from the Myanmar Investment Commission this month.

The Yangon Region Transport Authority plans to install the system in 2,000 buses within six months after signing the agreement, and expects to install it in 4,000 buses in nine months, according to the minister.

The Asia Starmar Transport Intelligence Co. also plans to introduce a card payment system for other modes of transport if it is successful in the YBS, said the company’s chief marketing officer Daw Yi Yi Khin.

Tender for the card payment system was invited in August 2017 and the process took over 18 months. Fifty-six companies made the bid and the transport authority selected 14 finalists.

The Asia Starmar Transport Intelligent Co. was selected over Excel KC Myanmar and AnyPay Payment Services Co as the most qualified candidate to install and operate the payment system.

The Yangon regional government and the Asia Starmar Transport Intelligent Co. will sign a seven-year contract with the possibility of extending it by one more year. The company has invested over $7 million in the payment system, said Daw Yi Yi Khin.

The YBS, launched January 2017, now operates more than 90 bus lines with over 5,000 buses serving over 2 million passengers daily, according to Yangon Region Transport Authority.

At present, passengers put their bus fares into a cash box and, since the transport authority did away with bus conductors shortly after the launch of YBS, those needing change from a larger note have difficulty.

“Sometimes we don’t have change, so the card payment system will be more convenient for us,” said Ma Yoe Yoe Htet, a resident of Yangon’s Hlaing Township who regularly used YBS buses.

Over the past two years, bus operators have reported many cases of passengers giving ripped and damaged banknotes as well as paying less than the fixed fare.

Bus operators loose between 10 and 20 percent of their monthly income from such cases, said the minister.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.