Yangon Region MPs discussed multiple transits in a new bus system, scheduled to launch later in January, at an emergency meeting with Yangon cabinet members on Tuesday.
Chief Minister Phyo Min Thein, Transport Minister Nilar Kyaw and Karen Ethnic Affairs Minister Naw Pan Thinzar Myo met with MPs to talk about the prospects of the new bus system.
The city’s existing 300 bus lines registered with the Yangon Region Motor Vehicles Supervisory Committee – widely known by its Burmese acronym Ma Hta Tha – will stop running on the night of January 15 and will be replaced with 60 bus lines under the new system, the Yangon Bus Service.
MP Kyi Pyar representing Kyauktada Constituency-1 said: “Each MP discussed the possible difficulties the commuters are going to face once the new bus system starts. For example, people can currently travel to some destinations directly. But in the new system they will have to take transits to reach the same destination. It means commuters have to spend double or triple for bus fares. They [the ministers] replied that it will be like that for the first three months. Afterwards there will be e-tickets so that commuters will only have to pay per mile and spend less.”
Currently, the buses normally charge from Ks 200 (US$0.14) to higher rates, depending on the distance of a travel.
She continued: “The new system will start on a Monday. I’m worried that people may get confused. But the ministers reassured us that they will have volunteers at bus stops to spread handouts and assist commuters.”
The cabinet has invited volunteers to guide commuters for the first week at bus stops around the city.
MP Wai Phyo Han of Insein Constituency-2 said: “The government reformed a system and will listen to feedback. People will have to take one transit mostly; if the travel is very long, two. We’ve checked it.”
He added that he requested the cabinet to bring back some bus routes from the old system if this problem is not addressed.
“Some bus routes will disappear under the new system so those who depend on them will face difficulties commuting. However, the ministers have guaranteed to look into it. Commuters will have to try to get along with new bus fares for a while, and when the e-tickets are launched, they will end up spending less.”
Translated by Nay Thiha